Mariners confident of Asian success
AFTER the disappointment of missing out on a place in the A-League grand final, the Central Coast Mariners players could have been forgiven for hanging up their boots on the rest of the 2012 Asian Champions League season.
But a 5-1 win against Chinese side Tianjin Teda last week, combined with the surprise decision by coach Graham Arnold to reject overtures from Sydney FC and stay with the Mariners, has the side confident of joining Adelaide in the next round of the ACL competition.
Central Coast is in third position in Group G, one point behind both Nagoya Grampus and Seongnam.
With Seongnam almost assured of beating Tianjin Teda in the final round, the Mariners know a win against Nagoya in Tokyo on Tuesday is a must.
A-League team-of-the-year defender Josh Rose said the players had regrouped after the dramatic penalty shoot-out against Perth Glory that cost the team the opportunity to add the premiership trophy to the Premier's Plate.
"It will be hard to go there and get a result, but one of our goals for the season was to progress to the next round of the Asian Champions League," Rose said.
"Everyone's buzzing again after the Tianjin win. Arnie always keeps us thinking positive and we've got our confidence back after that result."
The left back even managed to sneak forward and score a rare goal against the Chinese side.
That was just his fifth in Mariners colours in two seasons after returning from a three-year stint with Romanian club Universtatea Craiova.
Rose, who hails from Rockhampton and played for the Brisbane Strikers and New Zealand Knights before heading overseas, has re-signed with Central Coast for another three seasons.
"The lifestyle in Romania was very different. The football was quite good but we had one child and my wife was pregnant so we made the choice to come back," Rose said.
"It's been a great couple of years. Better than I could have hoped for."