Mariners draw on past ALM glory in fight for GF berth
A man who can remember Central Coast's halcyon days of competing for silverware at a packed-out Gosford, Danny Vukovic is determined to capitalise on a parochial crowd and seal progression to the A-League Men grand final.
The Mariners are hoping to have a sell-out crowd on Saturday night, when they will attempt to wrap up victory in the second leg of their semi-final against Adelaide, after winning the away fixture 2-1.
A spot in the June 3 decider against Melbourne City, who beat Sydney FC 4-0 on Friday night to progress 5-1 on aggregate, awaits the winner.
"The boys are very excited. These guys haven't had that before and it hasn't happened all too often," skipper Vukovic told reporters.
"I was lucky enough in my first stint in season to have that in the semi-final against Newcastle and it was one of the most amazing nights at the stadium.
"Hopefully, tomorrow night will be something very similar."
The Mariners have one championship, the 2012-13 title to their name, from when Graham Arnold was coach and the likes of Mat Ryan and Trent Sainsbury were among the young stars.
Ten years on, goalkeeper Vukovic believes Nick Montgomery's youth-dominated Mariners can replicate their past glory.
"I wasn't here in 2013 but certainly that winning mentality is instilled in this team and that belief and that is something very important if you want to do something special in the league," he said.
"We've looked back to that team of a decade ago and we want to be like them
"It's been 10 years since the club's won a trophy and we'd love nothing more than to bring a trophy back to the coast."
Vukovic had full faith in his young teammates, spearheaded by midfield workhorse Josh Nisbet, to maintain the rage at the season's pointy end.
"They've been amazing. Nothing fazes them," he said.
"What people were using as a negative at the start of the season, having a young squad, I think that is helping us right now.
"They run all day, they work hard for each other, you can see the team camaraderie out there and they're really important to making this team tick."
Adelaide skipper Craig Goodwin shapes as one of the keys to the game.
"He's a great talent, a great player and everything seems to go through him - I think last week all their chances he had something to do with it," Vukovic said.
"Certainly set pieces, they're dangerous simply because of his delivery and we know if we can keep him quiet, that will go a long way to helping us win the game."