By all rights, Melbourne Victory shouldn't be in the A-League grand final.
It took six games for the club to win a match this campaign, with Kevin Muscat's small squad struggling for consistency.
As recently as February, there were calls for the club's foundation captain to leave his post from Victory's own fans.
It's been a late-blossoming season of struggle for the league's biggest club - and that's exactly why seasoned striker Besart Berisha believes they can win the decider against Newcastle on Saturday night.
Berisha, who already has three championship medals, believes a combination of title-winning experience and Victory's hard graft will get them over the line.
"In many, many aspects of the game we got tested this year," he said on Thursday.
"Injuries, red cards, the Champions League, a lot of travelling, but we stand tall and we stand together.
"That is a great feeling having this momentum through the team. I think it's going to help us in the final."
Victory are the lowest-ranked grand finalists in A-League history after toppling premiers Sydney FC to reach the showpiece at McDonald Jones Stadium.
Muscat's side began the season with their longest wait for a win, which saw the club in ninth position before their first three-point haul - away to Perth in round seven.
The wobbles returned in the summer, when three straight losses saw the club flirt with missing the finals.
Pressure mounted on the coach, who saw dwindling home crowds and faced booing from the Victory fans that did show up.
Chairman Anthony Di Pietro labelled the performances as "not acceptable" at a major function.
The growing consensus was Victory were out to save face this season before going again next year with a re-booted squad.
Seven wins from nine games later, Victory are in the grand final and Muscat has a new two-year contract.
"We never give up," Berisha said, with pride.
"We have a great atmosphere in the group. A great mentality.
"We went through a tough season this year (but) we are now in the grand final.
"I'm really happy and I can speak for the boys, we're feeling fantastic and can't wait to play."
Like teammate Kosta Barbarouses, he said experience would be telling on the sport's biggest stage.
"It's key," he said.
"In big games you have to have experience. You can play finals but if you don't have the experience how to deal with it, it's very difficult."