- Written by Walter Pless
- Published: 28 February 2009
Melbourne became the first team to win the A-League grand final for a second time.
The game was televised live to 85 million homes - overseas!
This is simply scandalous. Australian fans should have been able to watch the game on free-to-air TV, but it was only those with pay TV in this country who could watch it.
It was a match filled with drama and plenty of controversy.
Both sides had a player sent off - in controversial circumstances, referee Matthew Breeze having to consult his assistant on both occasions - and there was a second-half melee in the Adelaide goalmouth involving most of the players.
Adelaide had Cristiano sent off after just 10 minutes for an elbow on Roddy Vargas, which left the Victory player bloodied.
Adelaide were on the back foot then, but five minutes into the second half they suddenly threw everything at Melbourne and created two excellent scoring chances in the space of five minutes.
But, neither Scott Jamieson, from Matthew Mullen's cross, nor captain Travis Dodd, after an amazing dribble, was able to beat Melbourne keeper Michael Theoklitos.
Melbourne took the lead on the hour when Tom Pondeljak collected a back-heeler from Evan Berger and cut in from the left and beat Eugene Galekovic with a low drive from 25 metres.
The 33-year-old Pondeljak, playing in his third grand final, was later named the Joe Marston man-of-the-match.
Melbourne's Daniel Allsopp was sent off in the 64th minute for headbutting an opponent.
With both sides now reduced to ten players, Adelaide revived but were unable to find an equaliser.
Substitute Paul Agostino had two good chances for Adelaide in the dying minutes but could not connect with the first and fired wide with the second.
"Every one [grand final win] is great," said Victory coach, Ernie Merrick. "We've just had a great year and it just caps off two other fantastic trophies.
"Fifty odd thousand and the game has been beamed to 85 million households world-wide.
"That's just fantastic for Australian football.
"Every year it seems to get tougher.
"I thought Adelaide gave us a really tough fight all the way down to the wire. It could have gone either way.
"Eugene [Galekovic] saved them a couple of times, Michael [Theoklitos] saved us a couple of times.
"Overall, we just persevered and we got what I thought we deserved."
Adelaide captain, Travis Dodd, said: "You can't fault the boys tonight.
"It was a gutsy performance. Down to ten men, it was a very difficult game for us, but the amount of courage and heart the boys showed tonight to get through the game was fantastic."