THIS week I’m going to take you into the Bluetongue Stadium dressing room at half time of last week’s top-of-the-table clash against Adelaide United.
THIS week I-m going to take you into the Bluetongue Stadium dressing room at half time of last week-s top-of-the-table clash against Adelaide United.
It-s the inner sanctum of any sporting team and it-s a rarity for anyone bar the playing and coaching staff to be in there - particularly during the three hours that takes in pre-game, half time and post-game activities.
We-d had countless opportunities to score and put the game to bed well before half time and jump to a commanding 6-point lead over second-placed Adelaide on the competition table only to find ourselves 1-0 down to a sucker punch at the break.
That can often be the undoing of lesser teams but to say there was a belief and focus in the players- eyes in that dressing room during the break would be an understatement.
They knew our character would be put to the test in the second half but that if we continued to get the process right and play to our structure we would get the result in the end.
We have made no secret of the fact that the Mariners is about the entire squad not just the 11 who walk out for kick-off and last week it took super sub Mitchell Duke to give us a two-goal impact off the bench and then new signing Nick Fitzgerald to lay on a great assist for Michael McGlinchey in order to get the three points.
Last week was probably the shortest half time team talk coach Graham Arnold has given during his tenure at the Mariners - put simply he told the boys to “keep doing what you-re doing” and the result will take care of itself.
He challenged the players to give a 90-minute performance of quality.
To come from behind in a contest against the team immediately behind you on the ladder and protect your unbeaten home record so far this season was of paramount importance.
We wanted to make a statement and mark our territory on the night and while we were playing some of the best football of the season someone forgot to tell the scoreboard attendant at half time.
To come out the other end with a commanding win both from a performance and score line point of view shows just what the Mariners dressing room is made of.
There were no loud celebrations, just a sense of pride in what we had achieved on the night.
Attention was then turned quickly to the farewell of young Tommy Rogic straight after the game as he greeted the boys on the pitch to join them on the lap of honour to thank our wonderful fans before his departure for Celtic.
It was then into the dressing room to focus on the players- recovery to ensure they are in tip top shape for tonight-s trip to Suncorp Stadium to take on Brisbane Roar.
Regardless of where they are on the ladder, it-s a massive game given where we are and what has transpired between the two clubs over the past two seasons.
Training this week has been very sharp and focused as we know we have to be at our best to get the three points against a Roar side full of quality players.
Kick-off is at 8:00pm on Fox Sports.
Brisbane Roar vs. Central Coast Mariners - Hyundai A-League Round 19 Friday 1 February, 2013 Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane Kick-off: 8:00pm (AEDT); 7:00pm local Twitter: Join the match conversation on Twitter! The official match hash-tag is #ROARvCCM TV: LIVE on Fox Sports 1 & 1HD Radio: LIVE on selected ABC Radio frequencies & digital channels. LIVE on Coast FM (96.3FM locally or streamed online at www.coastfm.org.au)