Harry Steele believes Central Coast's youth policy is paying off as the Mariners look to continue their winning run against Brisbane Roar and book a spot in the FFA Cup final.
The Mariners have won their last two A-League matches and knocked off APIA Leichhardt 6-0 in the FFA Cup quarter-finals.
The NSW outfit resumes their A-League campaign this Sunday against Brisbane Roar.
Midfielder Steele has been one of the young local juniors making his name on the Coast this season, after making his debut in round one against Newcastle.
The Mariners are currently sitting in fourth on the ladder, with three victories from five matches.
"It’s been a pretty good start, especially with the players we’ve had out, the senior players and the more experienced players we’ve had out," he told FTBL.
"With such a young team, most of us kids coming through the youth program and getting a start, we’ve actually done pretty well.
"I think it’s coming off the back of Sergio and Monty coaching us through the years and giving us a lot of comfort in that first-team role.
"The senior players like Oli Bozanic and a few of the others, Marco and Birazz, they’ve been really supportive of us young kids.
"I think we’ve also just gelled really well and we’re on a bit of a roll, we’ve won the last two games in row. We’re in the new year now and hopefully, we can get a win this weekend."
Steele played the full 90 minutes in central midfield as Central Coast smashed APIA on December 21. Now the 19-year-old wants his team to go all the way in the Cup.
"It’s a semi-final [now] so hopefully everything goes to plan will all this Covid stuff going on and hopefully we can keep playing on," he said.
"It’s amazing how quick it all came around and how we’re already into the semi-final, but it’s a really good experience for us young players playing in a semi-final so early in our careers.
"Hopefully we can go all the way and win the Cup – I think we can…. It’s something that we need to focus on a lot and push to win it."
The Mariners face the Roar at Moreton Daily Stadium this weekend.
Brisbane have yet to win a game this season and are propping up the bottom of the table.
"They’re kind of like us, they’ve got a really young team," Steele said.
"I think they’re just kind of struggling to gel together a bit. I know a few of the young boys at Brisbane and they’ve come from all over Australia, so I think they’ll find a bit of rhythm soon.
"It’s just kind of getting games together – with Covid it’s been hard for them to get games. But more game-time and it will come, they will gel together.
"But it’s a really good opportunity for us to go up there and take the three points, then focus on the FFA Cup semi-final."