Grand Finals are often characterised by pain and triumph.

The victors hold the trophy aloft, the ultimate symbol of accomplishment, while the defeated collapse in anguish.

But in a season like no other, the narrative of success in 2020 goes far beyond the winner’s circle. Success has not been determined by the typically binary ‘winners and losers’, but rather by the courage of every single player.

Sport, as an industry, is one built and dependent on collaboration. The players and the staff understand deeply that in our industry, we are all connected. Teams cannot exist in the absence of opponents and great clubs are rarely built on the back of one generation. 

The decisions and sacrifices made by the players to restart the A-League season were undertaken with the next generation in mind. The sacrifices made by those staff who were there every step of the way with the players were equally about their hope for and belief in the future. 

They showed leadership, despite being uncertain of the outcome and did so with the resolve and commitment to pursue a better future. 

The tears shed by Sydney FC’s Ryan McGowan and Luke Brattan in their post-match interviews delivered a raw human perspective of the sacrifices the players have endured in 2020.

There have been countless other examples. From players committing to time in quarantine away from pregnant partners or ill family members, gripped by financial strain to suffering anxiety about their future.

However difficult the restart has been, the players’ decision did not exist in a vacuum. The players know the history of our game and the history of those who came before them. 

They were conscious of their role in protecting the game’s future for the next generation, while acknowledging the sacrifices of those who had done the same previously, because the game had left them with little choice.

This has often been the story of the game in this country. During the game’s time of need, it is the players who have always shown the value that defines greatness within our sport – courage

As we move forward to determine the professional game’s immediate and long term future, the sport will be required to act with the same courage that the players have shown. 

Beau Busch Kathryn Gill

PFA Co-Chief Executives