May 13, 2015 11:24:17 UK
Shane Smeltz is aiming to make up for what happened in his last Grand Final, and not worry about whether Sunday’s decider is his last game for Sydney FC.
The Sky Blues striker has had to accept a back-up role this season, with coach Graham Arnold having paid big money to recruit Marc Janko as his main forward.
The Austrian justified that gamble by winning the Golden Boot as the A-League’s top scorer – more than adequately replacing the departed Alessandro Del Piero in the marquee role.
Smeltz has still had plenty of game time, but his starting opportunities have been limited, especially as Janko has opted to miss international friendlies for his country so that he could continue playing during the FIFA windows.
It’s meant 33-year-old Smeltz has spent a large part of the season on the bench, and that’s a situation he may choose to accept going forward.
He’s out of contract following the Grand Final against Melbourne Victory, where Sydney are 2.20 to win the trophy, though the Sky Blues have made it clear they want to keep him by offering him a new two-year deal.
Brisbane Roar are interested in the New Zealand international, and he has offers to move abroad, but he says his focus remains on trying to help Sydney win the championship.
“I know I’ve played my part this season,” said Smeltz, who started nine games and came off the bench in another 11 matches. “But I’m the same as any player – I want to play as much as I can.”
He says he won’t dwell on things until the Grand Final is out of the way, adding: “I want that to end in the right way for us and I’ll see how things go after that.”
Smeltz was on the losing end in his last Grand Final appearance, when his Perth Glory side lost 2-1 in 2012.
He took an accidental facial knock that left him needing more than 50 stitches and plastic surgery.
“I’ll never forget that game … it wasn’t good,” said the striker.
Sydney FC are 3.10 to beat Victory, who are 2.25 with the draw 3.50.
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