A-League: Playoff picture becomes clearer for Wellington Phoenix

Melbourne City celebrate a goal against Central Coast
Melbourne City celebrate a goal against Central Coast. Photo credit: AAP

Wellington Phoenix can afford a small loss to table-toppers Perth Glory, and still retain their grip on fifth spot and an A-League playoff date with Adelaide next week.

The side from the capital have one more regular-season outing on Sunday, but enjoy just a one-goal countback difference over Melbourne City on the ladder, after their rivals defeated Central Coast Mariners 5-0 at home on Friday night.

A win over Perth would see Phoenix book a road fixture against Adelaide, a team they have lost two and drawn once against this season.

A one-goal loss to the Glory would also see them win a goal-scoring countback against City, while a bigger loss would consign them to a playoff meeting with Melbourne Victory, against whom they've drawn three times.

City put Central Coast to the sword, demolishing the last-place finishers, as they tuned up for another finals series.

Shayon Harrison scored a fine double, with Dario Vidosic, Riley McGree and Ramy Najjarine all finding the back of the net in the five-star performance, which could yet cost them a 'home' playoff derby against the Victory.

Coach Warren Joyce said it never entered his mind that his team should play with one arm behind their back or let up the gas.

"I said in the press [and] to the players before, we wanted to win convincingly, by as many goals as you possibly can," he said. "That's no real difference to the talk you give every week.

"You can't be selective on who you play [in finals]."

His riposte to giving up home ground - where City are unbeaten in 12 - for a tricky away trip, was convincing.

"Our form in Adelaide, since I've been here, I can't recall us being beaten," he said.

And that's true - Marco Kurz hasn't beaten Joyce in their two seasons against each other, with City claiming two wins and a draw from their trips to South Australia.

While City won't face a side as poor as the Mariners in the finals, they will also benefit from the confidence boost to players. Harrison was at times unplayable, McGree had another strong outing in the centre of the park and Lachie Wales also impressed.

The quirky outcome could also mean City fans have seen the last of Joyce.

If they finish fifth and continue onto the Grand Final, City are exceptionally unlikely to play another game in Melbourne, meaning the out-of-contract Englishman might have overseen his last match at home.

"Will you be sad?" he laughed to journalists.