They've limped into finals under the radar, but Wellington Phoenix's best ever A-League finish is something to be commended before their semi-final against Perth Glory.
13 of the Wellington squad - which is the fourth-youngest in the competition with 11 players under 23 years old - have never played finals football before.
Most of those who have have played at other clubs. Ufuk Talay's in his first season and yet has continued the remarkable turnaround spawned by fellow debutant Mark Rudan last season.
Overall they've not only turned around the fortunes of Wellington but all of New Zealand football, who have faced a topsy-turvy few years and now boast some of the brightest young talent the nation has ever seen.
CEO David Dome said on Friday that the club had suffered more than any other in the lead up to finals. This should be a home final for Wellington but is instead taking place after two months away from family and friends in a Sydney hub.
But Coach Ufuk Talay is staying positive and believes the match against Perth - both sides have attackers out but huge forward international imports still on the park - will be a cracker.
“We spoke with the players about enjoying what they’ve earnt – to play in finals football – and we’ve tried to work on things to improve on from our last game," he told the club website.
“To win games we need to score goals and although we create enough chances to score, it’s goals that win games – but I know what this team can do and what they’ve achieved this season, they go out there and show discipline and want to win; they’ve shown that from day one.”
“They’ve got some very experienced players who can hurt you up front, guys like Fornaroli; we’ll prepare the way we need to prepare, looking at how we can hurt them and how we can nullify them as well.
“It’ll be a good game – there’s no easy games in the Finals Series, so we’ll go out there with the right game plan to get the result.”