Central Coast Mariners defensive midfielder Rostyn Griffiths believes the club’s season will count for little, if they don’t do the job against Gold Coast United at Bluetongue Stadium this Saturday night, and qualify for their third Hyundai A-League Grand Final in six seasons.
Central Coast Mariners defensive midfielder Rostyn Griffiths believes the club-s season will count for little, if they don-t do the job against Gold Coast United at Bluetongue Stadium this Saturday night, and qualify for their third Hyundai A-League Grand Final in six seasons.
The Mariners were by far and away the second best club in the 2010/11 season behind the all conquering Brisbane Roar, and Griffiths believes victory in Saturday-s Preliminary Final would be a just reward for such a stellar season.
“We really need a result this weekend,” said Griffiths.
“We feel we owe it to ourselves and our fans on the Central Coast to get a result and get into the Grand Final against Brisbane, (a team) we feel we can beat.
“It would be very disappointing if we didn-t make the Grand Final. After coming second I think we deserve to be in the Grand Final. In my mind, this game is very important but to me, being in the Grand Final is the most important.
“Proving ourselves this weekend is what everybody wants, to step up. We stepped up against Brisbane last week but didn-t get the result that we wanted or required, so this week we need to stand up and get the result we require, otherwise we would have fallen short.”
Having lost just once in their past 11 matches, and following a 3-1 victory over this weekend-s opponents less than a month ago, Griffiths believes the side is well equipped to deliver a third Grand Final and a second Asian Champions League campaign to the people of the Central Coast.
“Gold Coast are one of the most unpredictable teams in the competition unfortunately for us which is tough to play against sometimes, but the last time we played against them we got them 3-1 so that-s a positive mentality for us to go into the game with.
“If I had a choice of who we wanted to play I probably would have chosen them (Gold Coast) because last time we played them we felt we played them off the park so hopefully we can get a result again this weekend,” said Griffiths.
After scoring twice in Gold Coast-s 3-2 win over Adelaide United last Sunday, Griffiths has pinpointed Shane Smeltz as the man the Mariners need to keep quiet, but concedes the New Zealand international marksman isn-t the only danger.
“Smeltz has scored a load of goals since he has been back at Gold Coast, but you can-t give anyone a spare minute, in this league there are good players and you have to nullify them, but Gold Coast especially has a lot more individual talent than they probably have as a team so we will have to nullify that.
“I feel that we-re pretty sound tactically all over the park, most teams we-ve played against we feel we have the edge tactically over most of them, so we will just do the same against Gold Coast,” Griffiths said.
The aforementioned Asian Champions League is another carrot dangling in front of the two combatants at Bluetongue on Saturday, with the Hyundai A-League Premiers (Brisbane Roar) and Grand Final Champions to contest the jewel in the AFC-s club crown in 2012, and the Grand Final runner up to feature should the Roar win the domestic double.
“That-s a massive bonus. You look at the end of this season and we will have gone 4-6 months without playing any competitive games which no one wants to do, so if we can get that opportunity next season we want to be playing in the ACL. I was watching Sydney the other night and I was pretty jealous watching them playing in the ACL against good quality opposition over in Asia,” Griffiths said.
With over 25-thousand Brisbane fans helping their side into the Grand Final last Saturday night, Griffiths is desperately hoping Mariners fans show a similar amount of pride in their local team this weekend, by turning up in droves to Bluetongue Stadium for the most important match of the season so far.
The Mariners have delivered on the promise of free flowing, attacking and successful football in 2010/11 and Griffiths hopes Members and supporters repay the faith by getting behind their team.
“I-ve spoken to a lot of people who are planning on coming along so I definitely hope that will happen. Like Brisbane had last week, it was like a 12th man for them so hopefully they can come along and be a 12th man for us.
The Central Coast Mariners next match of the Hyundai A-League 2011 Finals Series will be against Gold Coast United in the Preliminary Final at bluetongue Stadium this Saturday, 5 March. Kick-off is at 7:00pm AEDT and tickets are available at www.ticketek.com.au or by phoning 132 849.