Mariners hope to party into next week
The stop-start celebrations of A-League champions Central Coast are set to continue into next week if they pull off a third piece of club history.
The Mariners returned to Australia on Thursday morning after following up Sunday's maiden A-League grand final win with their first Asian Champions League (ACL) away victory, against South Korean side Suwon Bluewings two days later.
It was a first win in Asia in nine attempts spread over three campaigns and capped off the biggest week in the club's history.
"We've definitely stepped up in the most important week of the season," star Mariners midfielder Michael McGlinchey told AAP at Sydney Airport.
A win in their final ACL group game at home to Japan's Kashiwa Reysol on Tuesday would secure the Mariners a place in the last 16 knockout phase for the first time.
The Mariners enjoyed low-key celebrations after the grand final and also partied in Korea after their historic win.
More celebrations are planned back home on Thursday and the club will be honoured with a street parade in Gosford on Friday.
The focus will then turn to the game on Tuesday, after which the Mariners can finally relax fully, without having to worry about another match looming on the horizon.
"We've still got the game on Tuesday, which we want to definitely (win and) get through the next round," said McGlinchey, who came off the bench to score the winner against Suwon.
"I think the celebrations will come if we get through that."
While there have been rumours coach Graham Arnold and some players could leave the club after the last 16 round of ACL, central defender Trent Sainsbury was confident the Mariners would survive any losses.
"You look at the club over the last three seasons, we've lost a lot of key players but then Arnie has brought in youth players who have done the job just as well," Sainsbury said.
"The team is such a strong-knit team that it doesn't matter who you bring in. I think they are always going to perform."
Sainsbury, who has established himself as a first-team regular this season, said he would reassess his options.
"I've had one good season. It doesn't mean I've had a great career as of yet," Sainsbury said.
"I've still got to pay my dues I think and I've got to work hard and I've got a lot of ambitions, and definitely one of them will be (joining) an overseas club."