Four days out from Brisbane Roar’s start to this year’s finals campaign, veteran defender Shane Stefanutto has warned his teammates that “anything can happen” now that the regular home and away season is done and dusted.
Stefanutto claimed that any accomplishments that his side had achieved up to this point wouldn-t be a factor as they prepared for the first leg of the major semi final against Central Coast Mariners.
Despite winning the Hyundai A-League Premiership, finishing eight points clear at the top of the table and only losing once throughout the season, Stefanutto made it clear that his side would start with a clean state come Saturday night.
“I guess what we-ve achieved over the past 30 games is gone and forgotten because it is now the finals series,” he said.
“Like everyone will say, anything can happen in the finals.”
After the tireless efforts of both the club-s coaching staff and playing squad that begun back in the pre-season, Stefanutto admitted to miss out on this year-s grand final would be a huge disappointment.
Buoyed by memories of a jam-packed Lang Park stadium back in 1997 when Brisbane Strikers were successful in their tilt for National Soccer League honours, the 30-year-old said he and the squad would work their hardest to give the Brisbane public another taste of grand final football action.
“I think now we want to go on and get into a grand final,” Stefanutto said.
“These things don-t come along that often so it-s a massive opportunity for us, an opportunity we want to make the most of.
“I was in the stands when the Strikers won, it was a fantastic day and I-d love to be a part of that.”
This season marks the Roar-s third attempt at securing the Hyundai A-League championship with the club reaching the preliminary final in both the 2007/08 and 2008/09 seasons.
While the club-s faithful supporters would remember those elimination matches with feelings of disappointment at never reaching the trophy decider, Stefanutto said the current crop of players would look to make things right over the coming weeks.
“It-s a different group and that-s the main thing,” he said.
“You can talk about the past, but the past is the past and the core of this group is new.
“The way we-ve gone about things this year has been totally new, it-s been a breath of fresh air.
“I-m not thinking about the past and I know the other players aren-t thinking of the past.
“It-s about now, it-s about what is up and coming.”