“This is what you dream of” Harry Steele on sell out Sydney Semi

Harry Steele spoke to the media on Friday morning. A Coastie born and bred, he says the prospect of a semi-final at the stadium he used to drive past every day is ‘crazy’ and ‘what you dream of’.

Tickets officially sold out on Thursday, for one of the biggest games Our Paradise has ever seen, as Mark Jackson’s Mariners look to take a step closer to an unprecedented treble.

The Mariners hold a 2-1 lead from the first leg, with Sydney hit by a number of injuries and suspensions to key players but Steele says the Mariners will approach the game the same.

“All the boys and buzzing, it’s been a long road, obviously with all the travel and all the AFC Cup games. But now we’re just looking forward to it sold out crowd, the boys can’t wait to get out there and put a show on for everyone.” Steele said.

“We’re all looking forward to it. We’ve had pretty good crowds all year considering all the games that we’ve played and everything so to get a semi final sold out, the boys are just thriving off it so we’re hoping to put a show on for everyone and come home with a win.”

“As I said in an interview last week, when Lolley got ruled out, we just take the game the same way. They have a few red cards with boys not playing and a few injuries but we just we take them the same way. We have a game plan and we’ll just stick to that, whatever they throw at us, we’ll be ready.”

Sydney are renowned for their high intensity and that is expected more than ever going into the second leg a goal down, but Steele says the Mariners are aware the tie could be levelled up at any point and will be ready.

“That’s football, you don’t know what’s going to get thrown at you. We know they’re going to come at us firing and they need to win so we’re going to be ready for that and make sure we get the win.” Steele said.

Mariners are the A-Leagues underdog of years gone by but expectation is growing on the Coast, still holders of the Championship trophy from last season’s iconic Grand Final win, whilst adding the Premiers Plate and AFC Cup to our trophy cabinet in recent weeks.

Steele says the players are used to dealing with the pressure and have coped well with it all season so far.

“I think being Champions from last year at the start of the season, that’s kind of on your back but we’re a bunch of young boys, we just take it game by game and just focus on the next task ahead.” Steele explained.

“I know we’re the hunted but we have been over the year and we’ve been doing very well. We’ll be ready with our game plan and we’re ready to go on Saturday.”

Steele is one of many Mariners Academy products in the squad, but one of only a few players born and bred right here on the Coast. He touched on how much it means to him and also shared a special memory from a previously successful Mariners team.

“It’s crazy. As a kid, this is what you dream of. When we heard the news that the Grand Final could potentially be here if we made it, we got so excited but we still have Saturday’s game so we’ve got to get through that and then we’ll focus on the Grand Final.”

“Being a young boy, coming to all the games as a young kid and I was best mates with Patrick Zwaanswijk’s son. So when I used to come to the games, I used to come into the changing rooms with that 2012 team and get around them so to be one of the players now it’s amazing.”

Steele was asked about the similarities and differences between previous Head Coach Nick Montgomery and the man currently at the helm, Mark Jackson.

“It’s pretty similar to be honest. I think they’re both from the same part of England, so they both have the same kind of morals and they’re both very good coaches.” Steele said.

“From the start of the year, like we’ve loved having Jacko, he’s very approachable and gets around us young boys. They both have the same morals and they want to win.”

“We’ve been taking it pretty much the same as last year. We’ve had a lot more games and there’s been a lot more on our list this year to tick off but it’s just game by game.”

Having already racking up over 70 Mariners appearances, it’s sometimes easy to forget that Steeley is still one of the younger players in the squad. He believes nerves are a good thing and named the players in the squad that are the best to have around.

“There’s definitely nerves but I think nerves are a good thing, it just means you’re thinking about it and you want to do well so but everybody gets nerves at the end of the day, it’s just how you manage them and you’ve just got to stay focused on the game plan and hopefully it all comes off.” Steele said.

“The good thing about us is we’re a mixed bag. So we obviously have Vukovic who just like the old bear to us, so he kind of calms down nerves and then we have boys like Alou who joke around and have fun and make sure everyone’s on their toes so that we’ll be ready. We’re ready to handle whatever happens.”

Steele believes the Mariners have already had a massive achievement this season but the treble remains the goal.

“After such a long season, if we don’t get over the line Saturday it will be a disappointment. We’ve come so far and at the start of the year, the treble was our goal. To have two ticked off already and then not be able to at least play the final for the third one I think it’d be a disappointment but at the end of the year, we’ve won two trophies and I think that’s a really good achievement but as I said we want to get this one for sure.”

You can watch Steeley’s presser in full via aleagues.com.au.