He might have been one of the loudest voices raised in anticipation of a potential Melbourne Derby Elimination Final ahead of the A-League’s final round, but Scott Jamieson insists that a finals meeting with Adelaide United is just as exciting a prospect for he and his side.
Jamieson cut a bold figure ahead of Melbourne City’s round 27 fixture with Central Coast Mariners, contrasting himself with the more reserved figure of Melbourne City Head Coach Warren Joyce in his willingness to open up on the possible permeations of the first week of the finals.
“I don’t mind who I face, but in saying that I do want to play Victory,” he said that week.
“They’re the champions, they’re our biggest rivals, it’s something for our fans to get excited about so that’s what I want.”
Jamieson would not get his wish, however, with Melbourne City’s 5-0 win over the Mariners and Perth Glory’s 5-0 thumping of Wellington Phoenix later in the weekend performing an unlikely adjustment to the A-League’s final table; sending the now sixth-placed Wellington Phoenix to Melbourne to take on defending champions Melbourne Victory and now fifth-placed City sent to the City of Churches to take on Adelaide United on Sunday afternoon.
“I knew this would happen,” Jamieson laughed asked when asked about the strange twist of fate
“Here’s my answer. I believed that at the time because I thought we were playing Victory… and I was excited to play Victory.
“I would have been excited to pay Adelaide last week. It just so happened it would have had to be a seven-goal turnaround and instead, it went to ten goals so, for us, we’re excited to play Adelaide.
“We look at the platform now, it’s three games and it would have been three games if it was Victory. We were excited to play Victory because we thought we were going to play them.
“I kind of thought [Wellington] was going to play a stronger team but it is what it is. We don’t really worry about the future, we need to win three games.”
Despite missing out on a chance to clash with his crosstown rivals in a do-or-die elimination game, Jamieson will be able to take some solace from his side’s form against their Sunday opponents.
The Reds have failed do defeat City in any of the meetings between the two sides since Joyce arrived in Bundoora ahead of the 2018/19 season. City has also won four of the last seven meetings between themselves at Adelaide at the sight of Sunday’s game, Hindmarsh Stadium, including a 2-0 win in round eight of the 2018/19 competition.
Contrastingly though, Adelaide are undefeated in their last five matches – a run which began when Head Coach Marko Kurz was formally told he would not be returning to the club in 2018/19.
It creates a topsy turvy form guide. Jamieson was resistant to inquires as to who he thought had the mental edge coming into the game.
“That’s for you to decide and for me to read,” Jamieson told media when asked who held the edge heading into Sunday’s game.
“I think, first and foremost, you look at who’s playing at home. They’re playing at home so it’s obviously an advantage for them. But, you could then go on the flip side and say that we’ve had good form against them away from home.
I’d more so go off this year’s [form] rather than last, there were obviously different players. Thankfully we had Ross [McCormack] who scored a good free kick last year away from home.
“This year, we’ve travelled well against them and if we look at this game this Sunday I don’t think it matters for too much. Nor does it matter that their coach is leaving.
“I think it’s pretty straight and black and white that the winner of this is going through to the next round.
“Form doesn’t necessarily matter too much to me. It’s a one-off game and you go into it with a fresh approach.”
Out of contract at the conclusion of City’s campaign, Sunday could, if the result goes the way of Adelaide United, be the last time Joyce patrols the City sideline.
Though reports have linked the 54-year-old to a possible extension regardless of the finals results, the club has been very quick to hose down such rumours; stating that any decision on his future will have to wait until the end of the season.
“I think for players it’s pretty straightforward,” Jamieson – who was made the captain of City by Joyce ahead of 2018/19 – said.
“If we win the title, then you don’t really sack a manager that wins the title, do you?
“That’s the only thought that we’ve had about the managers future. If we win the title then he probably stays but if he doesn’t he might stay too. I don’t know.
“The news around it has drifted in and out lately over the last two months but it’s never really gotten to the players in a sense of us worrying about it. Managers come and go. Players will come and go.
“That’s just the nature of the business. If you win games, it’s better for managers and players to secure your future.
“There’s no denying that we enjoy working with the [Joyce] but we don’t make those decisions.
“This is the [Joyce’s squad. There’s no doubt about it. The manager has obviously got the squad that he wants, he picks the players, he chooses them now.
“He’s kind of stripped [City’s culture] back in the sense that, in simple terms, its hard work.
“There’s no one bigger than the football club. There’s no one that’s going to be treated any different from anyone inside the club.
“There’re 23 players, there are marquees, there are young boys but you all have to set the standard of working hard.
“He’s kind of brought that steel.
“It’s hard work, appreciate what we do and be grateful. That’s what he’s about.”