Roaring: Brisbane Roar players celebrate their come-from-way-behind A-League grand final victory over the Central Coast Mariners in 2011.

Roaring: Brisbane Roar players celebrate their come-from-way-behind A-League grand final victory over the Central Coast Mariners in 2011. Photo: Getty Images

They have been called many things in their nine years in the A-League, including chokers and underachievers in their early seasons when they struggled to make an impression and qualify for the A-League finals.

But Brisbane Roar now stands on the cusp of history as it bids to become the first club in the competition to win the championship three times, an achievement that would significantly add to its legacy.

Already the men in orange hold the record for the longest consecutive sequence of games unbeaten - 6 - and in 2011-12 they became the first and so far only team to win the grand final two years in a row, something not even the all conquering Melbourne Victory side of the second season (2006-07) could not manage. It's always harder being the hunted than the hunter, and that Victory team (6-0 winners over Adelaide in the previous grand final) could not even qualify for the finals the next season, never mind defend their championship, a statistic that puts the Roar's achievement into greater perspective.

Western Sydney Wanderers coach Tony Popovic and Nikolai Topor-Stanley with Brisbane Roar captain Matt Smith and coach Mike Mulvey at a media conference ahead of the A-League 2014 Grand Final. Click for more photos

A-League 2014 Grand Final preparations

Western Sydney Wanderers coach Tony Popovic and Nikolai Topor-Stanley with Brisbane Roar captain Matt Smith and coach Mike Mulvey at a media conference ahead of the A-League 2014 Grand Final. Photo: Michelle Smith

Given their recent run of success, its easy to forget how difficult things were at the beginning for the club that  began life as Queensland Roar in the 2005-06 season, with the charismatic Israeli coach Miron Bleiberg at the helm.

Memories are short, but the Roar ran into severe financial difficulties in their early days and there was even talk of the club's owners handing back their licence. Bleiberg was dispensed with, former Socceroo and Sydney coach Frank Farina came and went, and the club was in a state of disarray.

So serious was the situation that the FFA at one stage had to take control of the Roar and hold responsibility for its financial commitments as it sought a buyer - eventually selling the franchise to the Indonesian-based Bakrie Group. But it was only as recently as February 2012 that the Indonesian mining conglomerate took over, illustrating how fragile the line between on-field success and off-field solvency can be.

Under Ange Postecoglou, who controversially quit Queensland to take over at Melbourne Victory after that 2012 grand final, the Roar became the most accomplished side in the league. It was on Postecoglou's watch (he joined part way through the 2009-10 season) that Brisbane put together that impressive unbeaten run, playing some wonderfully entertaining football along the way.

Postecoglou was able to harness the drive and talent of the existing squad - having first got rid of a number of senior players who did not form part of his plans - and add to them by bringing in quality imports like Thomas Broich, the German midfielder, and striker Besart Berisha, the Albanian international whose goal was enough to give the title favourites a 1-0 semi-final win over Melbourne Victory last weekend.

But it was not all plain sailing, despite their regular season dominance. 

In fact in all my years watching and covering the game in this country, I cannot recall a side winning an Australian championship match in such extraordinary circumstances as Brisbane did in that 2011 grand final against Central Coast Mariners.

Manchester United's 1999 Champions League final win over Bayern Munich, when it came back from a goal down in stoppage time to score twice and beat the Germans without needing extra time, was a stupendous achievement against much more demanding opposition. So was Liverpool's amazing recovery from 3-0 down against AC Milan in the Champions League final in Istanbul in 2005, when they forced extra time and won on penalties.

But there has been little in the domestic game to equal the feat Brisbane achieved in that 2011 final, when they were two goals down in the last two minutes of extra time against Central Coast. 

To score twice in the final moments of such a game, and then leverage that momentum to win on penalties is the stuff of dreams - or nightmares, in the case of Graham Arnold's Mariners side - and surely has the whiff of flukiness about it. 

It was even more dramatic than a game I fondly remember as the most exhilarating I have watched in the Australian domestic league - Wollongong Wolves uplifting triumph, also on penalties, in the 2000 NSL Grand Final against a rampant, cashed-up Perth Glory. 

There were only a few hundred Wolves fans, if that, amongst the 40,000 plus that crammed into Subiaco that Sunday afternoon, but the team from provincial NSW silenced them when they came back from a 3-0 half time deficit to tie things up at 3-3 (Paul Reid's leveller came in the dying minutes of that match) and then take the title in a nail-biting penalty shoot-out after neither side could add to their tally in extra time.

Not that Postecoglou at the time would give much credit to fortune, the coach arguing that games were played to the final whistle, that the result was never decided until the referee had blown it and anyway, his side had been so good all season that they fully deserved their championship irrespective of how it had come about.

Having had little involvement at the business end of the season in the early years of the A-League, its fair to say that Roar, despite Postecoglou's protestations, have enjoyed a fair slice of luck in critical finals matches in recent times.

Of course it's a truism that teams generally make their own luck, but fortune has smiled on the Queenslanders not just in that epic win over the Mariners but again a year later in the Championship match.

In that grand final, like all three of their title deciders staged at Suncorp Stadium, they saw off a spirited Perth Glory challenge. But having gone 1-0 down, it was only a  hotly disputed penalty converted by Berisha when the striker went down in controversial circumstances near the end of the game that gave them a 2-1 win and back-to-back titles.

Again, it was hard to argue with Postecoglou that his team had not played excellent football all season, had made the running in that game and that justice, in the overall scheme of things, had been done. But still the feeling was that the Gods were smiling on the Roar and that somehow things were fated to go their way.

Fate was also on their side again last weekend when they saw off Melbourne Victory's stout challenge. They had, to be fair, got on top in the second half and were value for their 1-0 lead when Kevin Muscat's side launched a last desperate assault as stoppage time loomed. It looked to have paid dividends when Roar skipper Matt Smith brought down his Melbourne counterpart Mark Milligan as the midfielder speared towards the six yard box and prepared to draw the trigger for a shot that could well have yielded a late equaliser.

But somehow referee Strebre Delovski put his whistle to his lips, thought better of it, and waved play on. It was a huge escape for the Roar, and the fact that Delovski subsequently admitted that he had made a big mistake was of scant consolation to Victory or its fans.

Luck, as they say, is a fortune, and its hard to argue that the Roar, with their high-energy pressing game, slick passing and technical approach have not deserved the fortune has come their way.

They have been the dominant team in the competition and will be hoping that their run of good luck at critical moments continues on Sunday: if it does, its difficult not to see Mike Mulvey crowning what has been a marvellous first full season in charge as Roar coach with a momentous grand final victory.