GOING into the biggest match of the club’s history there was a unique feeling of complete confidence running through the veins of the Mariners supporters and our certainty was rewarded.
WE did it!
After eight seasons of more highs than lows supporting the Central Coast Mariners we have finally been crowned Champions of the Hyundai A-League.
Going into the biggest match of the club-s history there was a unique feeling of complete confidence running through the veins of the Mariners supporters and our certainty was rewarded.
I do not remember ever going into a match where I felt so assured of success. With full credit to Western Sydney Wanderers, everybody the Gosford side of the Mooney-Mooney knew it was our day.
It was a clinical performance as the team went onto the pitch and flawlessly executed Graham Arnold-s game plan and dominated for the majority of the match..
The sea of red and black was an unprecedented spectacle in Australian sport and the Mariners could have been forgiven if they were a little shaky in front of tens of thousands of passionate Wanderers supporters. But they didn-t flinch.
It was a display of true professionalism that ticked all the boxes and filled the empty space in the trophy cabinet, capping off a stellar season.
After three unsuccessful grand final appearances there was no denying the most consistent team in the history of the Hyundai A-League a trophy on Sunday April 21, 2013.
Every player who wore (and is probably still wearing) their Champion-s medal around their neck deserves it and they will hold their heads high as the first Central Coast A-League winners. Their legacy has been left.
I could go on all day with praise for the boys.
Trent Sainsbury who was doubted by many as a replacement for Alex Wilkinson stepped up from round one to be one of the league-s best defenders next to the rock in Patrick Zwaanswijk who scored the opener on Sunday.
Our left and right wingbacks Joshua Rose and Pedj Bojic rarely let an opposition in behind the defence and when their opposite number was napping they lodged attacks of their own.
The workhorse and skipper, John Hutchinson put in one of his best seasons and proved to everyone how much the armband and yellow jersey means to him.
Unfortunately, Nick Montgomery missed his chance to play on Sunday but he needs to know how proud the Mariners fans are of his first season-s contribution.
We must also take our hats off to the boy from Avoca who has had a tough season through injury, however stepped up on grand final day like we all knew he would. Oliver Bozanic-s determination on the training track and creative flair on the pitch is the essence of the club.
What more can be said about Michael McGlinchey? The New Zealand international had defenders worried week in, week out this season with his incredible speed and skill. What a player.
Graham Arnold was spoilt for attacking choices this year and between golden boot winner Daniel McBreen as well as Mile Sterjovski, Mitchell Duke and Bernie Ibini. Simply put, there was always an answer up front.
Due to the efforts of the Mariners squad, Mathew Ryan had little to do this season but when he was called upon he was up to the task. He is a star of the present and is certainly going be a star of the future.
After losing “the un-lose-able” final just two years ago Graham Arnold and his coaching staff never took their eyes off the prize and have finally got there, so THANK YOU Arnie! The premiership is a deserved reward for Arnold who is one of the game-s best thinkers.
And how about the future of the club with our “young boys”? Whenever they were asked to step up they were there, whenever they stepped onto the pitch they did more than fill the gap of the player they were replacing, they gave us variation and made up our well-oiled unit.
There is no weak link in this team.
As the boys have since taken off to Korea Republic in a tough ask to perform on the world stage at a time they should be celebrating, their professionalism continues. They have put the Central Coast on the map.
I want to say a big thank you on behalf of the Central Coast for providing us with a sporting team that we can be extremely proud of. I have personally never experienced something so inspiring in my life and it has been an honour to be involved throughout the season, and in the stands on Sunday.
Our attention now turns to the AFC Champions League – good luck in Suwon, lads.