April 21, 2015 14:14:30 UK
Tony Walmsley insists his Central Coast Mariners side won’t be travelling to AAMI Park just to make up the numbers in their final game of the season against Melbourne Victory.
The champagne has been put on ice for Victory, who could already have won the Premier’s Plate by the time they kick off the final fixture of the round on Sunday evening.
Unless Sydney FC can win at Wellington Phoenix earlier in the day, Victory will already have the premiership in the bag.
The only thing that can deprive Kevin Muscat’s side is if the Sky Blues win and overturn a seven-goal deficit while Victory lose against the Mariners.
Central Coast, champions in 2012-13 and third-place finishers last season, will finish eighth in the table regardless of the result of their final match.
But Walmsley says his players will be going all out to spoil the party for the hosts, who are 2.37 to win the Grand Final.
The Mariners, who are set to be without goalkeeper Liam Reddy, will play with absolute commitment until the final whistle, according to their coach.
The Gosford club were left disappointed last weekend when they led 2-0 away to Wellington Phoenix only to lose 3-2 when Kenny Cunningham scored in the fifth minute of injury time.
Walmsley said the fact his team had fought hard when there was nothing riding on the result at Westpac Stadium showed they would not roll over against Victory.
“I’ve seen terrific buy-in from the players to what we’re trying to do,” he said. “This is another early opportunity to test ourselves against the side commonly held to be the best in the league this season.
“I’ll be making big demands on the players this week, about improvement across a range of areas, and I hope we’ll see the results of that on Sunday against Victory.”
He added: “Scoring twice was promising, but we need to find a regular supply of goals – and work on blocking the opponents’ route to goal. There’s plenty we can do in terms of making the players feel confident on the ball and confident keeping it.”
The Mariners are 9.50 to beat Victory, who are 1.33 with the draw 5.00.
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