Jamie Maclaren ready to fire in A-League Men finals
Goal scoring machine Jamie Maclaren plans to unleash his "inner beast" in finals and drive Melbourne City to more A-League Men silverware.
Premiers City kick off their championship tilt against Sydney FC at Allianz Stadium on Friday night, the first game of their two-legged semi-final, before playing the return leg at AAMI Park a week later.
Maclaren, 29, who broke the ALM goals record with a hat-trick against Western United last month, is ready to add to his 144 goals.
"The inner beast is coming out," Maclaren told reporters on Tuesday.
"When I broke the toe ... I went five games without a goal and question marks were being said and rightly so - I rarely go through a patch like that.
"I knew that I had to stay on my path and stay confident.
"To hit three in one night, I knew that I was doing all the right things and you always get rewarded in weird ways and to win it on one night was special and I'm ready for the finals now."
A grand final victory is the only thing missing from Maclaren's decorated resume.
But before tackling another decider, City first face Steve Corica's Sky Blues, who upset Western Sydney in their elimination final.
"Sydney's a well coached team. They've got a another deadly striker in Alfie (Adam Le Fondre) and they've been around the block a lot of times in finals series and you saw that the other night," Maclaren said.
"It's finals series now, anything can happen. It's almost as if the season form goes out the window and it's who turns up on the nights.
"We saw that last year. We were the best team throughout the year, but we lost in the grand final. So we want to right that wrong."
Maclaren believed Mathew Leckie would start for the first time since returning from a hamstring injury.
"He's ready. He's a beast of a guy. His body's a machine. When he plays, we are a better team," he said.
"I could be wrong ... but I believe that a lot of our boys are back and hungry and when finals come around, you throw everything at it and I think that's what we'll do."
Maclaren was at Richmond Station for the unveiling of a mural, by City ALW striker Hannah Wilkinson, commemorating his goals record.
"I love it," he said.
"It's special to grow up in this city and never did I think a kid from Sunbury would have something so big at Richmond Station which is so iconic and down the road from somewhere (AAMI Park) where I do my best work."