Roar's reserve 'keeper gets start
A sense of deja vu has been quickly replaced by excitement for Queensland deputy goalkeeper Griffin McMaster after being asked to step up for the Roar's crunch clash against Central Coast Mariners.
McMaster has been given the nod by Roar coach Frank Farina for Saturday night's A-League showdown at Bluetongue Stadium after No.1 gloveman Liam Reddy succumbed to a hamstring complaint.
He will make his season debut in a match that will be crucial to Queensland clinching a top four finish.
It's a tough ask for the 25-year-old, especially after the third-placed Mariners recalled "lethal" marksmen Matt Simon and Dylan Macallister from suspension for the clash.
But coping with pressure won't be a problem for McMaster after he coincidentally filled in for an injured Reddy in the corresponding round last season.
After Reddy broke his thumb, McMaster made his A-League debut in a four-game stint highlighted by a starring role in the Roar's 0-0 minor semi-final first-leg draw with Sydney FC.
Reddy returned for Queensland's second-leg 2-0 win at Suncorp Stadium.
However, last season McMaster chimed into a Queensland team which had already secured a finals berth.
This season fourth-placed Queensland are still sweating on the playoffs with four regular season matches to play.
Farina has already claimed that Queensland need at least five points from those games to reach the top four.
Reddy has been ruled out for at least one game, and will be struggling to face Adelaide on Wednesday night.
If McMaster is nervous about his latest assignment, he wasn't showing it on Thursday.
"No nerves, more excitement. I'm pumped, I'm primed, I'm ready to go," he said.
"I've only been in the game for five minutes and we start from zero on Saturday so its important that I do my best for the team, go out there and perform."
Farina had no problems throwing McMaster in at the deep end at Gosford.
"When he stepped in last year when Liam broke his thumb, he did very well for us and I expect him to do the same when he comes in on the weekend," he said.
McMaster said he expected to be tested early by Simon and Macallister.
"They're a very lethal partnership," he said.
"We haven't kept a clean sheet for eight games or something so the first thing we've got to establish is getting a clean sheet.
"Central Coast are on fire. They've got players coming back and were going to have to really be up for it."
At least statistics are on Queensland's side.
The Roar have never lost at Gosford's Bluetongue Stadium since the league's inception - an unbeaten five-game run that features two wins and three draws.