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THE tussle between rival captains Dwight Yorke and Noel Spencer will be one of the great individual battles in the A-League grand final today.


Whoever wins this duel could ultimately decide where the championship trophy is heading: to Sydney or the New South Wales Central Coast.

Spencer has had an unbelievable season. He's stood up and played a very important role in how far the Mariners have gone.

His passing with both feet has been excellent - not to mention his discipline.

Andre Gumprecht is the one who likes to run off him. A lot of the defensive work and screening in front of the back four falls on Spencer. He's been so impressive. Apart from that he's chipped in with six goals.

And today he takes on Yorke.

For me, Yorke has been the stand-out player of the season not because of the effect he's had on other teams but the effect he's had on Sydney's play.

There might be some queries about Yorke's jet lag after coming back from England on Friday.

But I expect him to be on a real high after he scored two goals for his country Trinidad and Tobago against Iceland.

It's a grand final and Yorke certainly knows what finals are like.

The A-League has players who have played in national league grand finals, but Yorke has played in the biggest of them all. He's a Champions' League winner with Manchester United.

Spencer has to give him no time on the ball.

The most important single factor with Yorke is that you don't want him getting his head up.

You want to try and keep his head down.

Once he gets his head up, he's got a great range of passing. He can play the ball long, little balls to the feet and he can split a defence - we've seen that from that role in midfield.

If a player receives the ball and has no pressure then he can do what he wants. But if you are pressuring him and he has his head down then he can't do much.

The Michael Beauchamp and Sasho Petrovski confrontation should be intriguing to say the least.

Coast defender Beauchamp definitely has Sydney striker Petrovski covered for speed.

Beauchamp is incredibly fast, has had a great season, and is in with a big shout to make Australia's World Cup finals squad for Germany.

He's got everything the modern defender needs. He's aggressive, agile, very quick, he turns quickly and is good in the air.

This is really a hard match for Petrovski.

His game is not based on speed anyway. He's a clever player.

He's sharp around the box and a good thinker and he'll have to be switched on to get the better of Beauchamp.

Petrovski is a box player and a good finisher.

He's not going to beat Beauchamp in a sprint.

The whole game for Sydney is going to be about precise passing and intelligent runs because Central Coast is very quick at the back.

Steve Corica is going to be very important for Petrovski, linking up with him and helping him.

If he doesn't, it could be a very bruising match for Petrovski - with Beauchamp and Andrew Clark tracking him.

Another great match-up is on the flank where Sydney's David Carney comes up against the Coast's Dean Heffernan.

Carney has been one of the finds of the season.

I don't think he's peaked in the finals series but this could be his day.