Two of the Central Coast Mariners’ Hyundai A-League 2013 Grand Final greats have reflected on the club’s maiden Championship triumph in the latest edition of the FFA Podcast.
Patrick Zwaanswijk and Daniel McBreen, who were the goal-getters for the yellow and navy in the club’s 2-0 win over Western Sydney Wanderers FC seven years ago this week, explained the confidence that the squad had to win its first Hyundai A-League Championship against the red-and-blacks, with whom they’d developed a fierce rivalry with throughout 2012/13.
2013 represented the Mariners’ fourth Hyundai A-League Grand Final in the first eight seasons of the competition, and after heartbreak against Sydney FC (2006), Newcastle Jets (2008) and Brisbane Roar (2011), the club’s players, according to the experienced duo, were resolute in their belief that they would finally lift the Champions’ trophy aloft.
Listen to Patrick Zwaanswijk & Daniel McBreen reflect on the Mariners’ Hyundai A-League 2013 Grand Final glory in the FFA Podcast.
And while such confidence would have existed without a pre-match airing of an English comedy, both believe some laughter and down time the night before the match played a role in adding further certainty that come full time on Sunday, 21 April 2013, the Mariners faithful would be the ones left smiling.
“The one in Brisbane (2011), everybody was confident that we could have done it, but I think Brisbane were the outstanding team of that season,” Zwaanswijk explained.
“2012/13 was different for us because we were the outstanding team according to the way we played, according to the players we used. ‘Arnie’ (Head Coach Graham Arnold) was ready as well … his man management was spot on.“I have never seen a team so calm and relaxed and enjoying the atmosphere (before the Grand Final).
“(The day before the game) we had dinner, and dinner was alright, but then ‘Arnie’ called us in to the back room and there was like a little cinema set up. We all sat down and he said that he was going to show us a video to take our minds off the football and the game.
“When he turned on the movie it was the ‘Mike Bassett’ movie, the English Manager. I had never seen it, but I had never laughed so hard or so loud. It took the mind off the game.”
“(The next day) everyone on that field, everyone in the Stadium, every member of the staff that had been with us for a while deserved the win,” he said.
McBreen said the showing of Mike Bassett: England Manager the night before one of the biggest games in the lives of the players involved resonated with a group, who were not only great teammates on the pitch, but great mates off it.
According to McBreen, the pre-game film embodied the team’s tight-knit culture and togetherness.
“We watched Mike Bassett and had a laugh after dinner and joked,” McBreen recalled.
“We just had a real good dynamic. The group was fantastic, we had exceptional footballers who also got along, it was proper mates. You can put everything into place, you can have all the right tactics and ability of team, but if you click that’s a big part of it.
“We all knew that we knew our role and without being arrogant, we knew that we were going to win that one.
“For me it (his time at the Mariners) was probably the best time in my career, where everything in my life seemed to be good. Football was good, the lifestyle was good, the people you were working with were great, and all the families got along.”
While the Mariners took off for Korea Republic the morning after their Grand Final success – and managed to secure a remarkable 1-0 win over Suwon Bluewings in the AFC Champions League just 52 hours after full-time in the Hyundai A-League’s showpiece – they did get to celebrate with their fans at a street parade in Gosford later that week.
McBreen knew the Hyundai A-League Championship was a big moment for the club and community, but would anyone turn up to a street parade five days after the team had won against the Wanderers?
“That was an epic day,” McBreen said of the club’s Grand Final ticker tape parade in the Gosford CBD. “I will be honest, when they said that they were going to do an open bus, we were a bit sceptical of how many people would be there.
“We knew it was big for the town, but where we started right up the other end (of Mann Street) there were only a few people and we thought: ‘Is anyone going to be here?’
“As the bus took off and we came around the first corner and you look down the road, it was just amazing the amount of people that where there, it was fantastic. To see that many people and how much it meant to them was epic, a great moment,” he said.
The Central Coast Mariners’ Hyundai A-League 2013 Grand Final victory over Western Sydney Wanderers will be replayed TONIGHT on the Hyundai A-League’s Facebook and Instagram TV, as well as on the My Football YouTube Channel. Kick-off is at 7:30pm AEST.