Words: ACFC Media
Friday 31 March 2017
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Key players stand between the Navy Blues and their pursuit of a record breaking seventh Stirling Sports Premiership title when they take on champs Team Wellington at QBE Stadium on Sunday.
Team Wellington have scored an astonishing 72 goals in 22 competitive matches this season but have conceded an equally eye-catching 40.
Auckland City FC coach Ramon Tribulietx explains why he believes Sunday's finale to a close fought domestic campaign yields little difference between two old foes.
"When you look at both teams on paper I'm not sure there is very much difference particularly between two teams in a cup final.
"Last season's final they won 4-2 but I'm not sure if there are too many differences.
"In Jose, Team Wellington have a different coach and they do look to play a bit more indirect. They have changed their style from last season and can also play and set up in different ways.
"Looking at the Team Wellington squad they feature most of the players who are the same, and they bring similar qualities to the game. It will be a tight and intense game," Tribulietx said.
The Navy Blues shape up for their 36th match of the season with team selection always a familiar problem for Tribulietx.
Choosing cup final sides is always difficult and ultimately players left out are disappointed.
"It is a difficult task to pick a team but ultimately you have to trust our side plays good football regardless of which players are on the pitch.
"We need to understand what qualities we need to show in this game before we make a final call on who starts," Tribulietx said.
Three players who could pose a serious threat to the Navy Blues are forwards Ben Harris, Tom Jackson and Joel Stevens.
Midfielder Leo Villa is another capable of changing a game in an instant.
"Jackson and Harris are two very intense and decisive players for Team Wellington.
"Joel Stevens can make things happen by himself, he just has that quality where he is able to do something unpredictable.
"Leo Villa in the middle is a good distributor of the football but wherever you look Team Wellington definitely they have some very good players across their squad," he said.
Sunday's Stirling Sports Premiership grand final kicks off at 4.35pm at QBE Stadium.
Stirling Sports Premiership Grand Final
Sunday 2 April 2017
Auckland City FC v Team Wellington
QBE Stadium, Albany
Kick-off: 4.35pm NZST
v Wellington Olympic, 11 March 2023, KO: TBC