Phoenix can't wait

Excitement rather than nerves is the over-riding emotion in the Wellington Phoenix squad after sealing fourth place and a home Hyundai A-League minor semi-final against Perth, says captain Andrew Durante.

Excitement rather than nerves is the over-riding emotion in the Wellington Phoenix squad after sealing fourth place and a home Hyundai A-League minor semi-final against Perth, says captain Andrew Durante.

A 3-0 win over the Central Coast Mariners on Friday night secured the coveted home fixture for the Phoenix who will be involved in the finals series for the first time in their history.

"We're excited, we can't wait," declared the Australian following Friday night's success.

"It's our first semi-final and we're going to have a home semi. I can't wait for the next week to be honest."

The victory at Westpac Stadium - courtesy of goals from Tim Brown and Paul Ifill (two) was the 17th on the trot for the Phoenix at the venue and rounded off an impressive couple of weeks which has seen them win three on the bounce and keep a clean sheet each game in the process - a first for the club.

"It's been a whole team effort," Durante said of the side's solid defending. "It's not just about the back four and Liam (Reddy). It's about the whole squad doing their part."

"(Chris Greenacre) works his backside off, Ifill got back tonight and Leo (Bertos) was deeper than me at times making some crucial tackles. It's a whole team effort."

"We've just been really solid all year. It's been a fantastic year. Ten wins, 10 draws and seven losses, I think that says everything."

"It's been good so far but the job's not done. It's the semi-finals now and we've got to take this run into the semis."

Outgoing Central Coast coach Lawrie McKinna believes Perth will have a huge task on their hands next Sunday, particularly given the strong vocal crowd support the Phoenix enjoy and the form of leading players such as Durante, Ifill, Greenacre, and Jon McKain.

"Since they've been in the league it's always a hard place to come," the Scotsman admitted.

"With the momentum they've got, they've got boys who can finish, good defenders, so they've got a good balanced team, and they've got a bit of flair there as well."

"They are not just a hard-working team that slog it out. They've got a bit of razzle-dazzle as well."

"It's a hard place to come and play. The conditions, wind, and the crowd get behind them and give them great support."