Grant chests his way into A-League history

Sydney FC coach Steve Corica described Rhyan Grant as the league's best fullback after the Socceroo was instrumental in the Sky Blues A-League grand final win.

STEVE CORICA, Sydney FC coach.
STEVE CORICA, Sydney FC coach. Picture: Don Arnold/Getty Images

If the criteria for player of the match is pure whole-hearted performance, Rhyan Grant would be in contention every time,

But few would expect the Sydney FC fullback to win it on the back of scoring the championship-winning goal.

Grant picked up the Joe Marston Medal having netted the only goal in the 100th-minute of Sydney FC's extra-time victory over grand final debutants Melbourne City.

Grant's tireless overlapping runs down the right flank were a constant menace for Melbourne City and the Socceroo fullback was finally rewarded when he scored with his chest by turning home Luke Brattan's superb lofted diagonal pass.

"You got to be in the right place at the right time, but you make your own luck sometimes," Grant said.

With just eight previous goals in a 12-year career at Sydney FC, Grant was an unlikely scorer of the most decisive goal of the season.

Yet, remarkably, it was Grant's second grand final goal, having also netted in the 1-1 draw against Melbourne Victory three years ago, a match eventually won by the Sky Blues on penalties.

The goal had added resonance, shoring up Sydney FC's fifth championship, a new mark for any Australian club since the former National Soccer League commenced in 1977.

"I said to Bimbi (coach Steve Corica) before the match I might score but I was just having a joke, but in the back of my mind I thought I was a chance," said Grant.

"I thought tonight I might get a bit lucky and it fell that way.

"I'm over the moon to score, but even more happy to help the club win another trophy."

Grant only returned from a month-long groin injury a fortnight ago but has rarely missed a beat, showing the kind of form which has seen the Canowindra-raised 29-year-old become a Socceroo squad regular under Graham Arnold over the past two years.

Grant is the fourth Sydney FC player to win the medal awarded annually to the best player in the grand final, named in honour of 1950s Australian football trailblazer Joe Marston.

The Sky Blues' roll of honour dates back to superstar import Dwight Yorke in the first A-League decider, while Milos Ninkovic won the Marston Medal last year.

"He's the best right-back in the country," said Sydney FC coach Steve Corica about Grant.

"He's energetic, he leads by example and you could see when he was out that we missed him.

"Two goals in two grand finals isn't bad."