“This is Brisbane. This is little Brisbane beating big Sydney. This is some achievement by this club.”
If his team is the most poetic in the A-League, Mike Mulvey’s eloquence makes for a beautiful marriage.
The squad, driven so ferociously by their goals, echo his self-awareness.
“We know we’re not little Brisbane, I’m just giving you a line there,” the boss conceded.
“We’re the mighty Roar,” Thomas Broich offered.
“We’re the mighty Roar, exactly,” concurred Mulvey.
Mighty Roar indeed. It’s a great line, little Brisbane beating big Sydney, that script Gus Gould reads from before every State of Origin match, but it’s barely applicable here. Brisbane Roar are unarguably the best and most self-assured team of the A-League era.
There are plenty of parallels to be drawn between the man who made a legacy possible, Ange Postecoglou, and the heir to the throne who has ensured its a reality, Mike Mulvey. Both won the double in their first full seasons in charge. Both did it in the supreme style that is now the template for all future coaches of the club.
“This club long before I arrived has in its DNA it never gives up,” Mulvey said, acknowledging the recent history that in reality is still very much the present.
“It’s so special, it really is. I was holding it together there until I saw my daughter at the end and I lost it a little bit because it means so much.
“It’s just such a wonderful feeling. I’ve been here before as a spectator when the guys have won it and was very envious. Now I know what it feels like to be part of it.”
The talented coach would have been forgiven for having lost his trademark cool following the final whistle, whether it was from seeing his daughter, the watery eyes of Besart Berisha or the realisation of having scaled a professional mountain.
Despite having gone 1-0 behind to Matt Spiranovic’s 56th minute header, Mulvey, like his side on so many occasions never lost faith.
“If you believe, you can achieve. Never stop believing,” he said.
“I thought we could win it in normal time once we scored to tell you the truth.”
Perhaps drawing on the remarkable revivals of their two previous Grand Finals, perhaps not, Brisbane somehow believed long enough again to equalise first in the 86th minute through Besart Berisha before Henrique plunged the match winner after 18 minutes of extra time.
Thomas Broich assisted the first. That’s five in Roar’s six Grand Final goals. The two-time Johnny Warren Medal winner is a marvel, having completed every minute of his team’s season.
“Thomas first and foremost is a great man,” his coach enthused.
“He’s so humble yet so driven. Today he was an architect because he delivered the ball that got us back into the game and that was crucial.”
Broich, having just accepted a joint Joe Marston Medal with Western Sydney’s Iacopo La Rocca, preferred to share the praise.
“For me it’s so important to emphasise everybody in our team is contributing,” he said.
“[Youssouf] Hersi to me is one of the best players in this league and he got absolutely bossed by Shane Stefanutto. Sometimes he cops all the blame and I get all the praise and I just have to say he’s a pleasure to play with.
“This is why we’re so good – it’s just coming from everywhere.”
The spearhead of the juggernaut will of course need replacing and though as he waved a teary goodbye, Besart Berisha achieved exactly as he promised – to depart in glory.
Broich, the Albanian’s closest confidante, will miss his partnership perhaps nearly as much as those in orange at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.
“[I’m] very sad. He’s a great guy off the field as well,” the provider of Berisha’s equaliser said.
“You saw the effort he put in not only today but ever since he signed for Victory he has not dropped his intensity a little bit. That’s the kind of warrior you want in your squad.”
Tony Popovic will have wished the league’s premier striker departed a match earlier as his farewell storyline became the headline that has now eluded the Wanderers for a second successive season.
“I feel worse this year, personally,” Popovic said.
“I felt last year we just weren’t good enough so you kind of accept we just weren’t good enough on the day but I thought this year we were.
“To put on such a great effort and performance and to come up short it certainly hurts more than last year.”
Roar’s own pre-glory pain, before the competition was tinted orange, was felt in successive preliminary final failures, not on the grand stage.
But that was before Postecoglou and Berisha, before Broich and Mulvey.
That was little Brisbane, imploding when it mattered most. This is something else. The Brisbane boss knows anything can be overcome, all can be won.
“To see a full house at Suncorp Stadium – 52,000 people,” Mulvey began, “to see players achieve what it is we mutually agreed were our targets for the season. To be part of that is absolutely special.”