Tony Popovic and Steve Corica walked the blue carpet together at Monday night’s Dolan Warren Awards, but on Sunday the two friends will become foes — for a few hours, at least.
Popovic’s Perth host Sydney FC in the A-League grand final, with the Glory coach not at all surprised by Corica’s success in his first season as head coach.
“He’s done an exceptional job, but I’m not surprised knowing him as long as I have,” Popovic said.
“We go way, way back and I’ve seen how dedicated he is to his profession, first as an assistant and working his way up. He knows the club inside out, he’s got an opportunity. He inherited a very good team, but you have to put your own stamp on it and obviously his man management skills are fantastic.”
The two played together at Sydney FC and in Japan for Sanfrecce Hiroshima, and they were also part of the Young Socceroos side that reached the semi-finals of the World Cup back in 1991.
But on Sunday afternoon in Perth their friendship will be put aside as Popovic aims to make it fourth time lucky, while Corica has the chance of winning the championship at his very first attempt.
This may be Perth’s first A-League grand final, but Popovic has been here before — three times, in fact, with the Western Sydney Wanderers. He’s lost on each occasion and, this time, says he’s “excited by the challenge” of trying to take the Glory all the way.
“I think you take something out of every grand final,” he said.
“This is my fourth and if I overanalyse every little detail, I’ve probably covered every single base in terms of doing something in a different way. This way I’ll be doing exactly what I believe is right based on this team, this final, this city and I’ll just do that. I’m excited what that can bring us.”
Source: Fox Sports