Caltex Socceroo Grant wins Hyundai A-League title in a year to remember

Rhyan Grant has one of the most talked about hairstyles in the Hyundai A-League but his football ability is just as memorable after helping Sydney FC beat Perth Glory in the Grand Final on Sunday night.

In helping the Sky Blues lift the ‘toilet seat’ after a dramatic penalty shootout win at Optus Stadium, it completes a remarkable season for the Caltex Socceroos defender.

The 28-year-old was one of the standout performers during January’s AFC Asian Cup campaign, in which he established himself as the Caltex Socceroos’ first-choice right-back.

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His national team selection was a reward for an outstanding start to the 2018/19 Season with the Sky Blues, which continued right up until his all-action display in the decider.

In typical Grant style, he threw himself whole-heartedly into the battle against Glory, providing tremendous thrust down Sydney’s right flank.

He was the only Sky Blues player to have a shot at goal over 120 minutes (three in total), while no player in the match contested more duels than Grant’s 26.

Glory's Jason Davidson and Rhyan Grant get up-close-and-personal
Glory's Jason Davidson and Rhyan Grant get up-close-and-personal

His battle with bleach-haired Glory wing-back Jason Davidson was as absorbing as it was physical, although it didn’t endear him to Glory fans who made the Grant their public enemy no.1.

But the Canowindra-born flyer would have the last laugh as he also showed nerves of steel to slot a penalty during the shootout.

Of course, Glory had their own Caltex Socceroos star in their ranks in Chris Ikonomidis, who toiled hard in the front third with little reward.

Ikonomidis’ excellent form throughout 2018/19 – which resulted in him being named NAB Young Footballer of the Year – meant he was afforded little room from Sydney FC’s well-disciplined defence.

Rhyan Grant and Chris Ikonomidis fight for the ball during Sunday's Hyundai A-League Grand Final
Rhyan Grant and Chris Ikonomidis fight for the ball during Sunday's Hyundai A-League Grand Final

And the 24-year-old’s licence to roam anywhere along Glory’s front line meant the two Caltex Socceroos only came across each other a few times over the contest.

While Grant ultimately took bragging rights – and the Hyundai A-League championship – from the decider, it’s been a sensational campaign from both of the emerging Caltex Socceroos stars.

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