McKinna praises youth

Outgoing Central Coast coach Lawrie McKinna believes the experience his young charges have gleaned in the latter stages of the Hyundai A-League season will stand them and the club in good stead for the future.

Outgoing Central Coast coach Lawrie McKinna believes the experience his young charges have gleaned in the latter stages of the Hyundai A-League season will stand them and the club in good stead for the future.

Rookies Brady Smith, Panagiotis Nikas, Matthew Lewis, Bernie Ibini-Isei and Nick Fitzgerald were all involved in the Mariners' final match against Wellington Phoenix on Friday.

Although the visitors went down 3-0 at Westpac Stadium, McKinna was upbeat about the future at the club where he will take on a new football and commercial role from next season.

"When you look at the 17-year-old kids we had out there it was a great experience for them coming here with 14,300 Wellington fans making a great atmosphere," said the Scotsman.

"For the long term future of the club having so many of youth team squad there is going to be a huge benefit in the long run.

"They've made their A-League debut and go away with some great memories from this."

"I'll go away with a lot of great memories of the last five years. We've had plenty and I'll look forward to the new stage in my career."

Midfielder Brad Porter was also optimistic about the future, despite Andrew Clark's retirement and Nigel Boogaard's relocation to Adelaide.

"Seeing the changing room before the game today it was funny because we had three or four players making their debut and you'd got one player at the other end retiring," he said.

"It was sort of like the end of one era and the beginning of another."

"We've got a really young squad but everyone is excited. Changes are going to be made over the next two or three months so it's a period of transition."

"I think with the core group of players we've got everyone is confident we can move forward and be better next season because we have to be."

The Mariners headed to Wellington hoping to finish the season on a high note. Instead it was the Phoenix who dominated and secured the win that earned them a home Hyundai A-League minor semi-final against Perth next Sunday.

"I think they (Wellington) can go all the way," the midfielder said.

"They've got match-winners in the front third and if you can get a home semi here it's a difficult place to come."

"But finishing outside of the top two makes it a lot harder with the sudden death games."

"So whoever finishes in the top two is going to have a great chance of winning the league."