Anderson out of wilderness and into A-League spotlight
YOUNG defender Zac Anderson says it feels "surreal" to be delivered from the wilderness into A-League grand final week.
Anderson is expected to be named in Mariners coach Graham Arnold's 15-man squad for Sunday's championship decider against Western Sydney at Allianz Stadium in Sydney.
After playing a full game in the Mariners' AFC Champions League loss to Guizhou Renhe in China last Tuesday, the Coast product was not used off the bench in Central Coast's 1-0 preliminary final win over Melbourne Victory in Gosford on Sunday.
But just being a chance of playing in his first A-League grand final has the 21-year-old buzzing.
This time last season, Anderson was without a club after Gold Coast United's sudden demise.
"It's a massive turnaround for me personally," the law student said.
"Honestly, it's surreal to be in the grand final this week.
"I can remember this time last year I was at Suncorp Stadium with Dad watching the Roar play, never thinking that at such a young age I'd get the chance to be in a grand final in front of a sellout crowd," Anderson added.
Brisbane beat Central Coast in a penalty shootout in last season's showpiece game to claim consecutive championships, after the Mariners had denied the Roar back-to-back premierships.
It was the Mariners' third grand final defeat in its then six-year history.
On Sunday, Anderson and his teammates will face a newbie revelation that has won the premiership in its foundation year.
The tall centre back has been engaged in "friendly banter" with Wanderers' reserve goalie Jerrad Tyson, another Coast product left stranded when Football Federation Australia revoked Gold Coast United's licence.
Anderson expects a "very tight" contest on Sunday.
"The Wanderers are very similar to ourselves in regards to defensive structure," he said.
"Our coach and their coach (Tony Popovic) both put a lot of emphasis on defensive structure and not allowing teams to play through the middle, and it makes it extremely hard to break (either team) down."