Champion Mariners bask in glory with fans
Star striker Daniel McBreen may have lost his voice after a hard night of celebration but that didn't stop him individually thanking fans who flocked to congratulate the A-League's new champions.
A sea of yellow and blue flooded Gosford's CBD on Friday to cheer the Central Coast Mariners, who claimed their first championship title on Sunday.
More than 5000 people lined the streets and filled the city's Kibble Park as the Mariners danced and chanted along with the crowd while showing off their silverware aboard a double-decker bus.
It didn't matter that the celebration with their fans had been delayed by the Mariners' Asian Champions League (ACL) commitment in South Korea on Tuesday.
"It's quality. I'm just happy to see so many smiling faces - it's just unbelievable," McBreen croaked while signing autographs after the parade.
Skipper John Hutchinson, the only player to have featured in all four of the Mariners' grand final appearances, relished the occasion.
"It's an unbelievable turnout and the boys are so appreciative of everyone coming out and showing us support for the whole season," said Hutchinson.
"Every single one of you - from members to people just turning up or wishing us well on the street.
"We are very grateful. We are a very lucky team to have such great supporters and hopefully we can repeat it next year."
Coach Graham Arnold urged the crowd to continue their celebrations at nearby Bluetongue Stadium on Tuesday for the Mariners' final ACL group match at home against Japan's Kashiwa Reysol.
A win would secure them a place in the last-16 knockout phase for the first time.
It would represent a third piece of club history in little more than a week following their maiden A-League title and first ACL away win in nine attempts against Suwon Bluewings in South Korea on Tuesday.