After two weeks without a match following the Mariners dominant 4-1 win over Adelaide a fortnight ago, the entire side are ‘raring to go’ according to Central Coast defender James McGarry.
The week off was certainly an appreciated one after an action packed five games in the month of April after the international break. The refresh has allowed the side to be fully fit heading into the semi-finals, with everyone keen to be back out on the park.
“It was nice to have the weekend off so we could focus on ourselves and have a little bit of time off. Some of the boys recovered that needed to recover. We’ve worked hard the last two weeks,” he said.
“We are mostly all young players and we want to play in big football matches. This is as big as it comes in the A-League. In the change room, the boys are excited. I don’t think there’s nerves in the change room, it’s just excitement. We’ve had the two weeks off so it’s sort of built up that tension, but the boys are just raring to go.”
On a personal note, it has been an incredible few months for McGarry, with the New Zealand international switching from the Jets to the Central Coast in February.
Since then, he has been a key figure in the Mariners side that secured second place against Adelaide United, grabbing a position in the AFC Cup in the process.
He is extremely pleased with how the transfer has worked out, commenting on it on the eve of our first semi-final leg against Adelaide United.
“It’s been a season of two halves. I’m super proud of it. It was a big move to make, it was definitely the best move I could have made and probably the best move for my career so far,” McGarry said.
“Coming in and playing from the get go, I wasn’t getting much game time at the Jets and then I came down and started the first game. From there I think I’ve been playing pretty well and now we’re in the finals with a good opportunity to hopefully win a Grand Final.”
Despite the dominant result against the Reds a fortnight ago, the side are certainly not taking our opposition lightly. With dangerous players all over the park, the Mariners will need to again be at their best this weekend. McGarry and the team know that the job certainly isn’t done.
“I think you can see in the group of players in their faces that they know the job isn’t done. Two massive games coming up for us. At the end of the day, we have to just be focused on them, focused on doing what we’ve been doing over the last six weeks and just implementing our game plan into these matches,” he said.
“The end goal is that grand final but two big stepping stones are in the way of that.”
The defender knows the dangers that can present themselves if you don’t move on from a positive result, with the side instead focussed on the two massive semi-final legs.
“It can be dangerous looking back, thinking it’s going to be a similar game. It’s finals football, it’s going to be completely different. I think we take a lot from our previous game in terms of the way we played. And, you know, obviously, just trying to go down there and play a similar style,” McGarry said.
“They’re going to come out all guns blazing, and especially because they’re at home as well. We can’t look back on that game, we just have to focus on our own game plan.”