Central Coast Mariners midfielder Liam Rose has hailed the influence of Dutch pair Tom Hiariej and Wout Brama for his late-season surge of form in the Hyundai A-League.
Rose, who won the Mariners Medal in 2016, has started the last four games for the club and been one of their best and most consistent players.
Given a shot in the absence of the injured Hiariej, the 20-year-old says he's enjoyed the healthy competition for spots in the Mariners' midfield and admits he's learned a lot from the club's experienced imports.
“Tom and Wout have played at the highest level. Wout has played for the Dutch national team and Tom has hundreds of games to his name in the Eredivisie so they have a lot of experience," Rose said.
"I just try to take little bits out of their game and what they do as footballers which has helped me a lot this season and I am really grateful for that.
“Competition for places makes everyone work hard and fight for that position and it only brings out the best in the team so when there’s competition everyone’s fighting at training."
Rose has taken this opportunity with both hands having started in every game since round 22 against Perth Glory.
“It’s great for me to be able to get some minutes under my belt but the main thing is the team performance and we haven’t had the best results in the last few games so we will be looking to change that on the weekend and hopefully bring back the three points," he said.
“The result against Brisbane was disappointing. One moment we let ourselves down defensively and they capitalised.
"But there were plenty of positives signs, we created chances and were a bit unlucky not to score so we’ve been working hard this week at training to change that this weekend and get the three points."
While the club's finals hopes ended some weeks ago, they are still desperate to avoid the wooden spoon, currently two points ahead of last-placed Wellington Phoenix.
This Saturday the Mariners face Melbourne City at AAMI Park, with the hosts in-form on the back of successive 3-0 wins over the Western Sydney Wanderers and Newcastle Jets.
“It’s going to be a tough game. They’ve hit some great form, they’ve got some great players like Daniel Arzani who has started to show his potential and guys like Bruno Fornaroli but that won’t change our game plan – we’re going to go in and work hard for the win," Rose said.
“We’re not where we want to be but we know that we don’t deserve to be down that end of the table.
"There were games this year we should have won but that’s football at the end of the day and we need to keep working hard for our fans."