Third time's the charm for Kwasnik

ADAM KWASNIK admits it’ll be strange running out on to the Bluetongue Stadium pitch this weekend wearing a Wellington Phoenix jersey rather than the yellow and navy of the Central Coast Mariners.

ADAM KWASNIK admits it-ll be strange running out on to the Bluetongue Stadium pitch this weekend wearing a Wellington Phoenix jersey rather than the yellow and navy of the Central Coast Mariners.

The former Mariners hero, a mainstay of the Gosford outfit for the first three seasons of Hyundai A-League, finally has the chance to face his former teammates with the Phoenix on Sunday.

Since crossing the Tasman to join the Phoenix for the 2008/09 season, Kwasnik missed the Wellington club-s two most recent clashes with the Mariners - the 1-0 2008 Pre-Season Cup win at Westpac Stadium and the goalless draw at the same venue in round four of the competition proper.

Now fully fit, Kwasnik is hoping the third time proves the charm.

“I-m looking forward to it. It-ll be sort of strange going back there - I spent the last four years there and three years playing with the Coast. I-ve got some good memories from my time there and from being part of a very good and successful team.

“But obviously I-ve moved on to what I think are bigger and better things [with the Phoenix], so I want to go out there this weekend and prove a point - as do the rest of the boys.

“All the Aussie teams aren-t respecting us enough and we need to stand up for ourselves and show them we-re worthy of being right up there.”

However, Kwasnik knows only too well the challenge his former teammates will provide on Sunday.

“They-re very hard-working. You saw it against Adelaide - a classic example - when they came back from 3-0 down and just kept grinding away to get it back to 3-3. Their emphasis is on working hard and knowing the results will come, that-s what they-re all about.

“But we just need to worry about our own game; hopefully we can jag a couple, put them under pressure and then finish off the game.”

For his own part, Kwasnik has another big ambition he wants to realise sooner rather than later.

The Mariners- all-time leading scorer with 15 goals in three Hyundai A-League seasons, the 25-year-old is yet to find that back of the net for the Phoenix. To finally open his account for his new club against his old mates at Bluetongue Stadium on Sunday would be all the sweeter.

“I-m definitely in a bit of dry spell personally when it comes to scoring goals. The football hasn-t been the best from me but I-m working hard on doing the simple things right and it-s starting to come together. I-m feeling a lot better in my game and at training, but there-s still a lot of work to do.

“I have to repay the faith that [head coach] Ricki Herbert has shown in me.”

Whether he gets on the scoresheet or not, Kwasnik says his main goal is to play a part in another good team performance.

“As long as the team-s doing well, that-s the main thing. I just want to do my bit and come home to Wellington with three points in the bag.”