A STIRRING speech from captain Matt McKay before the second half of extra time was the catalyst for Brisbane Roar's miraculous Grand Final win over Central Coast Mariners.
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It looked as if the all-conquering Roar were going to fall at the last hurdle, down by two goals with 15 minutes left to rescue a match nearly everyone expected them to win after such a successful campaign.
But thanks to an inspirational address from Socceroo McKay, and the memory of their sensational comeback against the Mariners a fortnight ago in the second leg of the major semi-final, Brisbane were able to find renewed vigour and scored through Henrique and Erik Paartalu.
Those two goals sent the match into a penalty shootout which Brisbane won courtesy of some Michael Theoklitos heroics, and midfield anchor Paartalu said it was indicative of the character and determination of Ange Postecoglou's men.
"Yes, we've played good football and I thought tonight we were decent going forward but when things get tough we rely on that character and the resilience we've built all season," Paartalu said.
"It was the x-factor for us. When things aren't going well and we're under the pump we're patient and it's been fantastic."
But Paartalu admitted he had conceded defeat before McKay's speech awoke the Roar from their slumber.
"I gave up hope in the first part of extra time. I thought it just wasn't our day and was basically resigned to the fact that the Mariners had won. But Matty McKay came out and gave a great speech and we all responded," he said.
"I'd given up and you could see that the boys' body language was down. Matty just came up and said that we'd scored two goals in less than 15 minutes before, so we could do it again. The boys were just tremendous. The way it finished just summed up our season."
Paartalu's headed goal - the last play of the match - sent the 50,000-strong orange-clad crowd into raptures but the big man couldn't remember much about it.
But he did express his hope that the Roar playing group will stick together and create a dynasty under the hand of mastermind coach Postecoglou.
"I don't remember much about (the goal). I just ran to the corner and tried to do a knee slide but I carved my knee up - the turf wasn't great," he laughed.
"What a moment. It was just fantastic, and with the last kick of the ball too. I had a header that went close beforehand and I just thought it's not going to be our night but I don't remember much about the goal.
"I hope we can all stay together and I look forward to the ACL next season. No team's done the repeat so we'll be definitely be trying for that next season.
"It's a long pre-season and we'll be working on a lot of things. We had a great structure and form and teams did start to work us out, but we had to rely on our character and as long as that's the club, we'll keep going forward."