Merrick urges Jets to savour Hyundai A-League Grand Final excitement
Just enjoy the occasion.
That's the message Newcastle Jets coach Ernie Merrick has given his players as Hyundai A-League 2018 Grand Final buzz sweeps the Hunter Valley.
Merrick will face former side Melbourne Victory in Saturday night's showpiece at a sold-out McDonald Jones Stadium after inspiring a stunning turnaround from last season's wooden spooners.
While famous for his reserved poker face on the touchline, the two-time championship winner isn't expecting the same restraint from his players as they embark on the exciting build-up.
"I'm certainly not trying to contain their emotions," Merrick told media on Monday.
“I want them to have fun and really enjoy themselves. It's a special week.
"Stay in the present – this is a great time. Don't worry about the future, don't worry about the past, stay in the moment.
"We've done so well, let's give it all we've got and let the outcome look after itself.
"Stick to what your job is, do your job, raise your game maybe one per cent, that's all we need.
"Don't try and do something magical again like another scorpion kick, just do your job and everything will fall into place," he added, referencing Riley McGree's wonder goal in the Semi Finals.
Despite a spectacular rise from the foot of the Hyundai A-League ladder to one step from the summit in just twelve months, Merrick isn't surprised by the success his side have achieved this season.
"It's as good as it could have got but I'd always anticipated it was a team that was going to go places," he said.
"I always thought the club was a sleeping giant waiting to come out of its reverie.
"Everything has just fallen into place beautifully right from recruiting, pre-season training, coping with injuries and suspensions all the way through and I expect it to be the same this weekend."
And as he prepares himself for a fourth Grand Final, the Jets mentor isn't about to break the habits which have served him well during his decade-long tenure in the Hyundai A-League.
"I've just never really focused on opposition teams," the 65-year-old said.
"I've never really talked much about them. You have to respect any team that we play in the Grand Final.
"There's a reason why they're in the Grand Final and Victory are a very good team.
"But we'll focus on how we play."
The Hyundai A-League 2018 Grand Final will be broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS, ONE and TenPlay with coverage starting at 7:00pm (AEST).
Kick-off is at 7:50pm (AEST).