Max Burgess has become the first player to score a hat-trick for Western United in their big A-League win over Central Coast.
Western United coach Mark Rudan will continue to challenge his unlikely hat-trick hero Max Burgess, who set the stage for the drought-breaking 6-2 win over Central Coast at GMHBA Stadium.
The former Sydney FC and Wellington Phoenix attacking midfielder had gone goalless in his previous 44 A-League games.
But the 25-year-old Burgess made a mockery of that barren record on Sunday, finding the net three times in a golden 18-minute spell late in the opening half.
"It's reward for persistence from both parties - the coaching staff and the player himself continuing to work on his skill-set," said Rudan.
"He's got a lot of positive aspects to his game and he's got things that he needs to work on and improve on as well.
"But we never take away the positives of an individual."
Burgess's hat-trick was complemented by a two-goal haul from talisman Besart Berisha and a second-half strike from veteran Andrew Durante as United snapped a four-game winless streak to breath new life into their finals push.
The A-League's newest club now sit seventh on the table, with seven games to play.
"Particularly having not scored in the last three games and being able to get six in one tells you that we always continue to improve and work on all facets of our game," said Rudan.
"But it was really pleasing to score six."
In contrast, hapless Central Coast remain rooted to the bottom of the ladder following a seventh successive loss.
"We've been decent for the last two weeks but today I thought we were below par and got punished," said Mariners coach Alen Stajcic.
"Several poor errors early in the game and to concede off the first set piece and let Berisha have a free header almost set the tone for the half and it wasn't a good tone.
"We were very porous at the back."
The Mariners' best moment of the match came just before halftime, when Gianni Stensness scored with a spectacular bicycle kick to reduce the deficit to two goals following Burgess's heroics.
But Western scored the only two goals of the second half to blow the margin out.
United's last home match of the season in Geelong was watched by a very small crowd.
Their two remaining home fixtures will be at Mars Stadium in Ballarat.