Tension rises between grand final rivals

Growing tension between A-League grand final rivals Ernie Merrick and one time protégé Kevin Muscat has been furthered with the traditional pre-match joint press conference scrapped.

Ernie Merrick Kevin Muscat

Kevin Muscat (L) and Ernie Merrick in happier times during Melbourne Victory's successful 2007 season. Source: Getty Images

Newscorp reports Newcastle Jets boss Merrick and Victory coach Muscat will hold their own separate press conferences one day before the game on Friday.

The move adds to a building subplot ahead of the A-League decider which has sold out the 32,000 capacity McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle. 

It will be the first time in A-League history that the coaches of the grand final teams won’t front a joint press conference ahead of the game.

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It’s believed the decision to hold separate media events comes from Jets coach Merrick whose preference was to not share the stage with Muscat.

The veteran coach was concerned the joint press conference could get out of hand with tension still simmering between the former captain and coach of Melbourne Victory.

While Merrick shot a video to help celebrate a decade since his 2007 Victory side won the A-League title, with Muscat as captain, the former Melbourne boss has not attended any of the club’s functions since he was sacked in 2011.

Asked by Newscorp if he would coach Victory again, Merrick, who boasts an impressive record with Wellington and now Newcastle and also coached Hong Kong, was coy.

“That’s a leading question. If I say yes, it’s like I’m looking for the job and looking to undermine Kevin Muscat,” he said.



“If I say no it’s like I don’t like the club any more.

“I’m damned if I answer that question either way.

“I had a great time there and I’ve moved on, I’ve had a national job (Hong Kong), the (Wellington) Phoenix and I’m at this club (Newcastle) and it’s been great.

“I hope I’ve changed as a person and innovator.”


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2 min read
Published 3 May 2018 at 11:42pm
Source: SBS The World Game