Socceroo and Sydney FC defender Rhyan Grant can still hear the chorus of boos he received from Perth Glory fans during last season’s Hyundai A-League Grand Final.
Whether it was his flowing mullet or his ding-dong battle with Glory’s left wing-back Jason Davidson, Grant was public enemy no.1 at Optus Stadium last May.
The Socceroos right-back got the last laugh as the Sky Blues prevailed in a penalty shootout to lift their fourth Championship crown.
Ahead of the match-up between the two clubs on Saturday, Grant admits the torrent of abuse spurred him during the tense 120-minute showdown in the west.
“Obviously you do hear so many people booing but at the same time you’ve got a job to do so you get on with the game,” Grant said.
“Definitely when it came to extra-time and penalties it spurred me on to make sure I made a difference and didn’t give them the last laugh.
“They got on my back there but it is just part of the game and all good fun.
“Winning it [the Grand Final] was massive, it was more massive for us. It was a nice little ending too to have the last laugh but it is a part of the game and creates a bit of atmosphere which is nice.
“It only started in the Grand Final, there was a bit on the line so there were a few decisions that the referee made that went either way for both teams but obviously being majority Perth fans there they didn’t really like me and the haircut didn’t help either.”
Of course, the Grand Final triumph is in the past and Grant’s focus is very much on what’s ahead for the Sky Blues in 2019/20.
Steve Corica’s side are on course for the Premiers’ Plate, holding a 10-point lead over Melbourne City at the top of the ladder and with two games in hand.
As things stand, if the Sky Blues win their next four matches, they could get their hands on the Premiership as early as Round 25.
“We’ve got a little bit of a lead at the moment but we definitely don’t want to slip on that and make the most of that to win every game,” Grant said.
“The more games we win will set us up even better in the finals and we want to get the Premiership as soon as possible.
“We know we have to beat some good teams in the next couple of weeks and Perth is first of them and we’re quietly confident we can get that done and build on that.”
Sydney FC v Perth Glory
Saturday, 14 March
Netstrata Jubilee Stadium
Kick off: 5pm AEDT