We’ll be back, warns Zac

Zac Anderson is confident Central Coast will be much stronger next year after their Hyundai A-League title defence came to an end on Saturday night.

Zac Anderson is confident Central Coast will be much stronger next year after their Hyundai A-League title defence came to an end on Saturday night.

The Mariners fell one game short of another grand final after going down 2-0 to Western Sydney at Pirtek Stadium.

Anderson denied the club's horror travel schedule due to ACL commitments was the reason behind the defeat and said the Wanderers were just too good on the day.

After a tumultuous season where the Mariners have endured much change and upheaval, the centre-back says the club can be proud of their achievements.

And Anderson has no doubt the experience of this campaign will ensure the club stay at the top of the A-League next season.

"We just need to spend time together. Brisbane Roar, Western Sydney Wanderers Melbourne Victory, they've all spent two or three seasons together now," Anderson told www.footballaustralia.com.au.

"That's why we were so successful last season because we spent two or three seasons together and the boys knew each other so well.

"You can't expect to win anything in your fist season. In January we had all those changes and Mossy's [coach Phil Moss] has done an amazing job with the squad we had.

"Bringing all the new boys in to the culture has been fantastic and we'll build on that in the next pre-season and be stronger for it."

Saturday night's loss caps a disappointing week for the club who were also knocked out of the ACL after defeat to Sanfrecce Hiroshima in Japan.

But the Mariners deserve credit for getting as far as they have after losing coach Graham Arnold at the start of the season and a host of their title-winning squad from last year.

"It's been a real building year for the club but the last couple of months has been a real test on and off the field but we've really stuck together and the culture has really shone through," Anderson said.

"We really did accomplish something this year even though we have nothing to show for it in the end.

"We set out standards quite high and we really did want to get to that grand final because there's a lot of experienced boys here.

"But at the end of the day we'll sit back, take a couple of days to assess the season and we will be really proud of what we achieved and we'll boil up that emotion for next season."

The Wanderers defeat brings an end to the playing days of former Socceroos and Mariners attacker Mile Sterjovski, who retires after an illustrious 17-year career at the top.

"It's been an absolute honour to play with him. It was a bit of an emotional time for us at the end because he's such a big influence in the squad," Anderson said of Sterjovski.

"Our club prides ourselves on that family orientated club. We love Mile and his family and I'm just so proud he's done his final year here.

"It's always about the club, it's never about Mile and that's a true testament to the man and hopefully he won't be lost to the club."