Central Coast moved into second place in the A-League with a gritty win over Newcastle and their next test is a huge away game against leaders Melbourne City.
After leaping into outright second in the A-League, Central Coast will turn their focus towards a huge clash with leaders Melbourne City.
After 22 games, the Mariners sit a point clear of Sydney FC and Macarthur and five ahead of sixth-placed Brisbane Roar, who play on Sunday and have another game in hand.
Central Coast have already doubled their 18-point tally from last year's wooden-spoon season.
"It's (sitting second is) just a massive rap to the players, to be able to achieve such an amazing accomplishment for our team and our club and for us to be this high this late in the year," coach Alen Stajcic said.
Stajcic hailed the Mariners' grit in Saturday night's hard-fought 1-0 win over local rivals Newcastle - noting it was the character they will need as the season reaches its climax.
"We're going to need those qualities come finals time," he said.
"There's going to be different times in matches where we're not going to be the better team and we have to find that resilience in the game."
Central Coast have four games left to determine their finals place, starting with next Saturday's top-two clash at AAMI Park.
The Mariners and City each won their respective home game in their previous two clashes this season and Stajcic expects his side to take the fight to the league leaders.
"(It's) very exciting," he said.
"I might be wrong here, but I'd overheard that we were supposed to play Melbourne City third or fourth in the pecking order and they requested this game earlier in the extra four games because they wanted to play us while they were at full strength with their Socceroos.
"So obviously they were a bit worried six or seven weeks ago, the fact that they wanted to play us first.
"So I can't wait to get down there and really give them a good contest."
Goalscorer Matt Simon came off in the 59th minute against Newcastle but the veteran striker was confident he was OK.
"I'm alright - just a bit tight in the groin and hip area because of the short turnaround (between playing Newcastle and last Wednesday's 0-0 draw at Brisbane)," Simon told Fox Sports.
Simon has scored 10 goals in 22 games this season - his best return since 2010-11.
"He puts in a massive shift, 90 minutes the other night and another 55-60 minutes today," Stajcic said.
"Ten goals for the season, he's getting up towards the mark of his best season ever and in terms of football, I think it has been his best season."