Heffernan’s hoping it is fourth time lucky in final
WESTERN Sydney Wanderers utility Dean Heffernan has a golden opportunity to erase the darkest moment of his career and go out a grand-final winner in what could be his last professional game.
The fact it happens to be against Brisbane Roar, a team he knows a thing or two about in title deciders, at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday only adds to his motivation.
Heffernan, a foundation A-League player, has been apart of three losing A-League grand final teams with the Central Coast Mariners and Perth Glory.
The 33-year-old was red-carded during injury time in the memorable 2011/12 grand final while playing for the Glory against the Roar at Suncorp. Brisbane won that match on the last play due to a contentious penalty to striker Besart Berisha.
Heffernan told APN getting sent off in that game was one of the lowest points of his career.
But said he was extremely excited to have a shot at redemption.
"I never watched the replay," he said.
"I got sent off late in the game, which was very disappointing, but that ended up getting overshadowed by that penalty on Berisha.
"Grand finals are not easy to win. I've got another chance now - I'm desperate to win one, and it'll be massive if we can."
Heffernan acknowledged the intimidation factor a packed Suncorp Stadium could have on match officials.
The Roar was on the right side of the whistle in the Berisha incident, and again when Melbourne Victory skipper Mark Milligan was denied a penalty after a challenge in the box in Sunday's semi-final.
"I don't want it to end like that," he said.
"After you saw slow-motion replays of that grand final, you could find something small on Berisha.
"In the end, the ref was close to the action on Sunday and he didn't find something on Milligan - that's the way it goes sometimes."
The grand final will likely be the off-contract Heffernan's last professional game, in what has been an impressive career.
"I feel like I can keep playing next year because my body feels good," he said.
"But I don't want to be one of those players that go for a season or two too long.
"I'd like to keep playing, but it might not be in the A-League."