Can the Mariners beat the Roar? That's going to be their toughest task.
Central Coast Mariners Regular season position: 1st Points: 51
Finals Opponent: Brisbane Roar Head to head: Mariners 4 wins, Roar 13 wins, 9 draws Last five: DLLWL
The story so far v Brisbane Roar
Overall the Mariners haven-t got a great record against the reigning Premiers and Champions, who will only be buoyed by the Mariners taking the Premier-s Plate from them on Sunday.
History tells us the Mariners have played the Roar 26 times since the inception of the A-League and only won on four occasion, while the Roar have defeated them 13 times and the clubs have split the points nine times.
This season the points have also gone to the Roar, who have won two of three of the encounters, with the Mariners causing a mid-season upset at Suncorp Stadium.
As far as goals go the Roar have scored five to the Mariners- two and all have come from different players. Erik Paartalu, Besart Berisha, Mitch Nichols, and Kofi Danning all breaching Mat Ryan-s net, so the whole team remains a threat.
The best thing the Mariners can do against the Roar is to keep their shape, not get flustered and attack on the counter. With the likes of Tom Rogic, Bernie Ibini and Josh Rose in the picture they have the pace to hurt the Roar on the rebound.
Key Player: John Sutton - Just into the beginning of his Hyundai A-League career, Sutton has flown into join a Mariners side who have been struggling to find goals since the departure of Matt Simon to South Korea. While Simon was the man to provide the most goals for the club so far this year, Sutton was flown in with high hopes of getting a running start... it wasn-t to be though.
Sutton has struggled to find his feet since joining the league, even fluffing a penalty before finally breaking through for his maiden against the Phoenix in the final round.
Hopefully for Mariners' fans that goal has lifted the pressure on Sutton-s shoulders and he can start scoring on a regular basis. His presence as a target man is of a huge importance to the Mariners- chances.
X Factor: Tom Rogic - The young Mariners magician appears to have the world at his fancy feet having turned Mariners- games into somewhat of a trick show of late. Fans are excited to see the Nike Scholarship winner play and they should be.
He plays like a young man, with no fear and backs himself to score, the thing is he has shown he can score too and with Bernie Ibini also finding form, the duo could tear opposition defences apart in the finals.
Key Stats: The Mariners have the best defence in the competition with just 24 goals conceded throughout the season.
Bunnies: Despite losing to them last time out, the Mariners seem to enjoy playing the Heart, holding a 4-1-1 record against the red and white and would be happy to see them at any stage of the finals.
Bogey side: Unfortunately for the Mariners it is the Roar.13 losses in 26 battles does not bode well for the yellow and navy
Straight Shooting: The Mariners may not have a great record against the Roar, but they do have an ace up their sleeve. Before leg two of the finals at Bluetongue, the Roar have to travel to South Korea for ACL duties before returning to take on the Mariners in Gosford. The Mariners have that week off.
If they can beat the Roar in the major semi, then they may not see them again and if Brisbane fall they would be deserved favourites for the A-League championship.