Mehmet motivated by grand final loss

Starting ambition ... Perth Glory striker Billy Mehmet (Getty Images)

Perth striker Billy Mehmet says a sense of injustice is the spur which could get Glory off to a winning A-League start in its grand final re-match with Brisbane Roar Sunday week.

The hotly disputed last-gasp penalty from Besart Berisha which propelled Roar to a 2-1 win six months back still resonates with the Englishman as Glory prepares for the visit of the champion to Patersons Stadium (Subiaco Oval) in the season-opener.

While Sydney FC and start-up outfit Western Sydney has dominated the pre-season headlines with the signings of Alessandro Del Piero and Shinji Ono – not to mention Wanderers’ flirtation with Michael Ballack – Mehmet insists Perth is primed to go one better than 2011-2012 and leave everybody in the shade.

And beating Brisbane would provide the perfect lift-off for the season, with Mehmet, 28, saying: "The plan is to go one better this year and we are really hungry to get one over on Brisbane, especially after what happened in last year's grand final.

"The way that game ended, any fan who saw the decision of the referee (Jarred Gillett) that day wouldn't understand how they got the penalty and that is what obviously killed us.

"It was gutting to lose that way, it was a game we should have won. But if you had said halfway through the year that we'd make a grand final, nobody would have believed you.

"We have to try and forget the way it ended but the rivalry will be there for sure because of what happened. If we get one over them we will be buzzing.

"We have great depth in our squad, we have strong cover in each position and there's huge competition for places, so it's looking good."

After possessing the element of surprise in its run to the decider last year, Mehmet now feels Glory will be in the sights of the other nine A-League clubs as it seeks to climb the summit.

"I think a lot of the teams are going to look at us and raise their game, seeing that we "It's going to tougher but we just have to rise to the challenge and I feel we have the squad to do that."

Mehmet, who signed a new two year deal after the conclusion of last season and has scored four times in nine pre-season starts, is unsure whether he will play up alongside master marksman Shane Smeltz, or play understudy to the New Zealand international this season.

"I am not sure how the boss (Ian Ferguson) will play things. It might be a case of different tactics and formations for different matches, so I'll just have to wait and see.

"We all know we have a big part to play. I personally feel a lot sharper than this time last year when I was just arriving from Turkey (Samsunspor) and had just had an operation on my knee.

"I only had two weeks to prepare for the season. This time I've been training all the way though and I feel a lot fitter."

Mehmet bagged seven goals in 28 appearances last season, 22 of which were starts, and has set a new target for 2012-2013 as he competes with Smeltz and new arrivals Chris Harold and Japanese capture Ryo Naga for game time.

But he is not revealing what it is, explaining: "I am keeping that one quiet, just in case things go wrong."

Source SBS