Ernie Merrick isn't usually a gambling man but he knows when the odds are in his favour.
And the Newcastle Jets coach can see signs his Novocastrians might finally have the wood over the only A-League rival they've failed to beat during this season's extraordinary rise from wooden spooners to second place-getters.
Melbourne City will bring a vaunted attack and very favourable statistics to McDonald Jones Stadium on Friday night.
Without doubt, Daniel Arzani, Bruno Fornaroli and company present sizeable obstacles to a first Jets grand-final appearance since their maiden title in 2008.
But Merrick cites other factors, like his side's superior goal count, the weekend off, and the immeasurable advantage of a near-capacity home crowd.
Or the omen of Nigel Boogaard's remarkable return from injury, and Thursday's pep talk from former Newcastle Knights skipper Kurt Gidley.
Then there are the intangibles only a coach who's done it all before would know.
And his dual titles with Melbourne Victory, along with other finals at the helm of Victory and Wellington Phoenix, have informed the Scotsman's quiet confidence his entertainers can yet complete their exquisitely unexpected campaign.
By Merrick's own admission he's learning all the time, and his primary focus this week has been keeping the squad grounded amid the anticipation.
"We've got a team who scores 57 goals throughout the season and you know that, given the opportunity, we're going to score," Merrick said.
"Defence is very important but you don't win a game on defence - that's just your launching pad.
"Any finals team I've coached with that sort of attitude and preparation, and who takes the game to the opposition, they're the sort of teams that will achieve something."
It's partly why Merrick is prepared to roll the dice on Boogaard, declaring the skipper "100 per cent" ready to start just seven weeks after being ruled out for the season and with no match preparation.
"It's my job to gamble but make sure I've got the odds in my favour," he said.
"And knowing how the boys trained, and all the fitness details and how they've played all year, is what I base my decision on."
The significance of Boogaard's ahead-of-schedule recovery from a broken knee cannot be overstated and, should he play alongside Nikolai Topor-Stanley, the central defensive rock can go a long way to nullifying City's array of threats.
"I think Nigel would be 100 per cent if I needed him to start," Merrick said.
"I won't release the starting XI but I feel confident that if we needed Nigel and Ronny Vargas for a whole game they would do it.
"I haven't placed any restrictions on who can play what and how long for ... whoever I put on there will be on for the whole game."