Tommy Oar's first A-League season on the Central Coast was ruined by injury. Now the winger is fit, firing and keen to drive the Mariners back up the table.
The 2015 Socceroos Asian Cup winner played just 11 games last season before suffering a nasty knee injury, but ahead of Saturday's season opener against Western Sydney Wanderers, said he felt the fittest he'd been as a player.
"Being injured and these kind of things are always frustrating but it's just part of football and I think the older you get the better you learn to deal with these kind of setbacks," Oar told AAP.
"But I'm definitely hungry and looking forward to playing some regular football again."
Ahead of their first full season under former Matildas coach Alen Stajcic, the Mariners enjoyed a run to the semi-finals of the FFA Cup and hope to take that form into the A-League.
"A lot of people are probably writing off the Mariners and you can understand why given the results in recent seasons," Oar said.
"But for us, we know that we have a lot of talent in our squad and I think 'Staj' has brought back a bit of belief. Obviously a bit of a Cup run helped our confidence as well.
"So for us, we're going into the season full of confidence and we know that if we play to our capabilities we can get a lot of good results this season."
Now 27, Oar said he wanted to be one of the key players for the side.
"I really want to help drive the team forward and to be a leader in the team and to help us have more success than we have in previous seasons and I know if I can do that, then I can help the club be more successful," he said.
"So for me, I'm not trying to focus on individual goals or targets, it's just more doing whatever I can and maybe using a bit of my experience to help the team as much as I can."