NEWS: 'Tricky' stakes his claim

Glen 'Tricky' Trifiro hopes his winning goal in the Westfield FFA Cup in Wollongong can be the catalyst for playing a more important role at the Central Coast Mariners next season.

The 25-year-old midfielder made just five appearances in his debut campaign last term, with only two of those starts.

Lining up from kick-off against the South Coast Wolves on Tuesday, he didn't let head coach Phil Moss or his team-mates down, with a well-taken early goal the difference between the teams at WIN Stadium.

"To score on an occasion like this for the club, the first ever FFA Cup game, is special," he told 

"And for me, it's another good step towards trying to make an impact on the squad this year."

The game has already been hailed as a huge boost for the cause of football in the Illawarra region, which has been without a top-flight representative during the A-League era, despite Wollongong being a powerhouse of the old National Soccer League.

They now have at least one more voice rallying to their cause, with Trifiro impressed by the facilities, opponents and a vocal mid-week crowd.

"WIN Stadium is fantastic, this pitch is unreal," he said.

"It's a nice little boutique stadium and 5,000 odd fans to come out and support the team shows there's good support in the area.

"They're not a bad side, they got stronger as we tired towards the end. Credit to them, they did well."

Despite only a few faces remaining at the club from the 2012-13 A-League title triumph, Trifiro is confident the Mariners can improve on their semi-final loss last season, while continuing to entertain their loyal band of supporters in Gosford.

"It's an exciting year [ahead], we've got a lot of good footballers, a lot of dynamic players. I hope the fans can get behind us."

While the Mariners and Wolves clashed in Wollongong, Western Sydney Wanderers were busy inflicting a memorable shock defeat on AFC Champions League holders Guangzhou Evergrande, prompting Trifiro to congratulate brother Jason, an unused substitute for Tony Popovic's team.

"That's a great result not only for Western Sydney but Australian football," he said.