Tony Popovic will be coaching his fourth A-League Grand Final on Sunday when his Perth Glory take on Sydney FC.
For a brief moment on Monday night, Steve Corica and Tony Popovic shared a moment in the spotlight.
The coaches in this Sunday's A-League grand final have been friends for more than 20 years.
They laughed together on the way into the Dolan Warren Awards night, seemingly acknowledging the twist of fate that would have them managing against each other for Australian football's biggest prize this weekend.
Just a few years ago, they played in an over-35s tournament together for Glenwood Redbacks in Sydney's West.
Popovic edged Corica to the award for A-League coach of the season on Monday night, but praised the Sydney FC boss all the same.
"He's done an exceptional job (and) I'm not surprised," he said.
"Because knowing Steve, as long as I have (and) seeing how dedicated he's been to his profession as an assistant and working his way up.
"He knows the club inside-out. He got an opportunity. He's inherited a very good team, but you still have to put your own style on it.
"His man-management skills are fantastic.
"Seeing him tonight was nice. We had a good laugh.
"And, obviously, come Sunday, the competitiveness will come out."
The two mates endured semi-finals of vastly different fortune last weekend.
Corica's side trounced arch-rivals Melbourne Victory 6-1, but Perth were pegged back by Adelaide United before triumphing in a nerve-wracking penalty shootout.
Popovic confessed to not practising spot kicks in the leadup to the semi-final and perhaps surprisingly said he hadn't decided whether to do so this week.
But few have had as much experience preparing a team for a grand final than Popovic.
Three times he took Western Sydney to the showpiece match, for three losses.
In 2013 his side were upset by Central Coast. A year later Brisbane won in extra time. In 2016 Adelaide United beat his Wanderers 3-1.
Popovic said this match was less about personal retribution than something for his new club Perth to celebrate.
"I haven't really thought what it would mean for me. I think about what it would mean to the club and the fans and my family," he said.
"I feel honoured to be in my fourth grand final.
"I've probably covered every single base in terms of doing something in a different way.
"This way, I'll be doing exactly what I believe is right, based on this team, this final, this city.
"I'm excited at what that can bring."