Melbourne Victory’s on-field leaders are in no doubt that lightning can strike twice, and the A-League powerhouse can take the Championship from outside the top two once more.
Last season, Victory became the first side to win an A-League title from fourth place, overcoming Premiers Sydney FC and grand final hosts Newcastle Jets in successive away finals.
Captain Carl Valeri believes Victory, this season's third-placed finishers, are even better placed to do it this year.
“This season has been a much better season. Much more positive,” Valeri said. “We’ve played good football. Better football. Points-wise, we’ve finished better off. We’ve had more wins.
“There are so many more positives and this team on paper is fantastic.
“But the finals is a clean slate and you go again. We have three games to do it and that begins Friday.”
From the statistics, Valeri is certainly right.
As well as finishing one place higher on the ladder, Victory have won three more matches, scored seven more goals and conceded five fewer.
In terms of personnel, it also appears Victory have improved.
Last season, Kevin Muscat's side were rocked by the mid-season departures of Mark Milligan and Jason Geria, and saw Rhys Williams injured just minutes before their semi-final.
This season, Victory haven't struggled from player losses, only shuffling out Nick Ansell for James Donachie in a like-for-like defender swap.
The sole injury concern leading into this year's finals series is James Troisi, who is set to miss their elimination final with a hamstring issue.
And then there’s the tremendous class of Keisuke Honda and Ola Toivonen, a step up even on last year’s admittedly strong foreign pair of Leroy George and Besart Berisha.
But Victory know the on-paper comparisons will mean nothing without bringing their best on game days.
First up are Wellington Phoenix, Mark Rudan’s hot-and-cold outfit that Victory have failed to beat in three matches.
All three clashes have produced draws, but that hasn’t dented Leigh Broxham’s confidence that Victory can salute again this month.
“Twelve months ago we went and done it. We’ve got enough people that know what finals are about,” he said.
"We’ve got the quality in the team. It’s just getting the best out of everyone and I’m feeling good about that."