Team keen to rid themselves of chokers tag after four finals appearances.
Central Coast Mariners director of football Lawrie McKinna said the club is ready to shed themselves of their ‘bridesmaids’ tag as they prepare for the A-League grand final against the Western Sydney Wanderers.
Amazingly, this year’s decider will be their fourth final in just the eighth year of the competition, but it is the lack of trophies in the cupboard that is most pressing for McKinna.
“OK, we’ve been in three grand finals and not won one but we’ve made the grand final again; I’m sure a lot of other teams would’ve loved to be in four grand finals,” McKinna said.
“And each of the games, they’ve been very tight, it’s not as though we’ve bottled it on the day. A bit of magic from Dwight Yorke in year one, Mark Bridge scored a great goal year two after Viddy stood on the ball; we conceded two goals in extra time and lost on penalties in year three.
“People can say what they want but I’d rather focus on the achievement of the club getting to four grand finals in eight years.”
Central Coast skipper John Hutchinson said he had no problem with ending the fairytale run of the league’s newest side, who have go on to capture the Premiers’ Plate and the attention of traditionally rugby league-mad Sydney.
“The Wanderers story really is a fairytale, isn’t it? And not just for the A-League but for all Australian sports fans,” Hutchinson said.
“They got millions pumped into them by the FFA, have six foreign players, they also get a lot of extra things to everyone else,” Zwaanswijk said.
“It is a fairytale, yes, and no one can take anything from what they’ve achieved in their debut season. They’re a great team with a great coach, great fighting spirit. We will have to be on our game to beat them.”