Perth Glory defender Bas van den Brink has laid down the challenge to Central Coast Mariners ahead of this weekend’s grand final qualifier, saying Glory aren't about to sit back and wait for the Premiers.
Perth Glory defender Bas van den Brink has laid down the challenge to Central Coast Mariners ahead of this weekend-s grand final qualifier, saying Glory aren't about to sit back and wait for the Premiers.
Despite an excellent run of form that arguably puts them in a better position than their hosts, Glory are still the underdogs for the clash at Bluetongue Stadium.
But Glory players have been using this to deflect any pressure onto the Mariners all week, and Van den Brink says the team from Western Australia go into the fixture relaxed and full of confidence.
“We-re trying to go at it as a normal game,” the Dutchman said. “Obviously there-s more at stake but the season-s going well and we-re trying to maintain our normal routine.
“We-re not going into this game thinking anything we get is a bonus - we want to win no matter what. But we-ve had a good season - it-s probably the reason why we-re not too stressed at this stage.
“People in Perth want us to do well and they-ve been looking for success for a while, but that-s healthy for us to perform. Everyone just wants us to succeed and get into the grand final. It-s not unhealthy pressure with people craving for a result; our fans have been happy with what we-re doing.”
Glory-s season been a fascinating story, from a blistering start to a slump that nearly cost them both coach and owner, only to bounce back to arguably their best form in the Hyundai A-League.
Van den Brink pointed to the 1-1 away draw with Newcastle in week 13 as the point where the tide started to turn.
“[The change] came around New Year-s Eve, we played Newcastle Jets away, and although we only had 10 men we managed to get a draw, and from there we just started to feel a bit better.
"From there on there was more belief and confidence, and little things that before weren-t going our way were. We had to keep the hard work up but we had a little bit of luck as well.
“Now, with the strikers we have, it-s easy to think they-re going to score. Smeltz and Mehmet will score goals and that makes life easier for the rest of the team knowing we-ve got them there. Maybe that-s something in the back of ours head and settles us down.”
The other factor that could hinder Glory-s chances is, as usual, the travel. The long flight from Perth has cost the side plenty of points over the years but Van den Brink said it-s something the squad have had to learn how to cope with, and that they have no fear about their ability to hurt the Premiers in their own backyard.
“The travel does affect you; it-s just how you deal with it. Sometimes it-s tough with the recovery after a long flight - but you have to be professional with your routines and nutrition, which can make the difference.
" If I-m honest I think we had some decent results given the distance. It-s always a big trip from Perth, doesn-t matter where you go.
“We-re not the best team at sitting back and waiting. We-re going to try and score goals and if we can get an early one, great - I don-t care how we do it as long as we win.”