Aleksandar Prijovic had a superb regular season for Western United, but the Serbian truly took over in the Finals to help carry the Green and Black to its first ever Championship.
The No.99 netted decisive goals in the Elimination Final and Semi-Final wins over Wellington Phoenix and Melbourne Victory respectively before stepping up once again in the Grand Final on Saturday night.
After rising highest to facilitate a Nuno Reis own goal – which in Prijovic’s mind belonged to him – the 32-year-old added United’s second in the 30th minute and won the Joe Marston Medal for his performances.
The former PAOK, Legia Warsaw and FC Sion striker detailed what head coach John Aloisi had told him about Finals football and said that he hoped he could deliver in the best possible way.
“When I came in the very beginning John told me that Finals are the most important thing and I have to be ready for that,” he told the broadcast after the game.
“I guess I was ready, I don’t know you’d have to ask him! I’m happy to deliver, and there is still a lot of space above, so I can give much more but I’m happy with my performance.”
It had been well documented that Prijovic arrived in the West with ambitions of adding to his collection of silverware, which includes two Polish league titles, a Greek title and five cup competitions across Europe.
“Definitely, it was a target of mine when I came here, and I’m happy that I could fulfill it and I could deliver in the right moment. As you could see, today the final was very clear in our favour,” he said.
After finishing third in the regular season despite being counted out all year, Western United went the distance in the Finals to become only the second team to win the Championship from outside the top two.
Defying doubters at every stage, Western United reached the pinnacle by the end and Prijovic said there were no such doubts within the squad.
“From the very beginning we were very sure that in the Final we were going to win,” he said.