Mariners out to shutdown Smeltz

Shutting down star striker Shane Smeltz has been a focus at training this week as the Central Coast Mariners strive to qualify for a fourth Hyundai A-League grand final with victory over Perth at Gosford on Saturday night.

Shutting down star striker Shane Smeltz has been a focus at training this week as the Central Coast Mariners strive to qualify for a fourth Hyundai A-League grand final with victory over Perth at Gosford on Saturday night.

Smeltz has been sensational during the past two months and his form up front has been a key factor in Perth's charge to tomorrow night's preliminary final against the Mariners at Bluetongue Stadium.

The Mariners have a great record against Perth on home soil, but captain Alex Wilkinson said nothing but a five-star performance will do against the visitors.

A grand final berth against the Brisbane Roar next week is on the line for the winner.

The Mariners are coming off two losses against Brisbane in the major semi-final, eventually losing the two-match tie 5-2 on aggregate.

"They're playing well and are confident so it's going to be a big challenge for us," Wilkinson said of the Perth showdown.

"They're playing well and scoring a lot of goals; we need to be on our games in defence to beat them."

The Mariners have already beaten Perth two times at Gosford this season.

Mariners coach Graham Arnold said playing Perth was a hugely different challenge to tackling Brisbane.

Arnold said despite losing against Brisbane the performances, especially the 3-2 home defeat last week, have given his players belief they can get the job done against Perth and then in the grand final.

"It's a very different challenge playing Perth but I'm confident we've got the players who can match that," Arnold said.