Football: Wellington Phoenix put A-League premiership disappointment behind in pursuit of bigger target

Wellington Phoenix are moving on from the disappointment of missing out the A-League Premiers Plate.

Central Coast Mariners have lifted the trophy, with a 2-0 win at home over Adeliade elevating them atop the standings and consigning the Phoenix to second.

Another year, another piece of silverware for the Mariners, who dashed the Phoenix's hopes of history. 

Central Coast Mariners celebrate their A-League premiership success.
Central Coast Mariners celebrate their A-League premiership success. Photo credit: Getty Images

"We were watching it last night together and we were pretty disappointed," captain Alex Rufer told Newshub. 

They weren't alone, as their fans also watched in frustration. 

The Phoenix needed the defending champions to lose to Adelaide, but there's no time to dwell on 'what ifs' for Wellington. 

"That's done now," said Rufer. "Unfortunately, we didn't win it but we have to focus on the next game."  

That game - the first leg of their home-and-away semi-final - is scheduled for next weekend, when the Phoenix will be in enemy territory.

"I actually love playing away from home, because everything is against you," said Rufer. "Big stadiums, big crowds... I'm really looking forward to it."

They won't know their opponents until the elimination finals wrap up on Sunday, but the skipper says it won't make a difference. 

"It's going to be tough, whoever we play, and we just need to focus on what we can do and what we have done all year - play good football." 

One trophy may have slipped through their grasp, but there's a bigger one still on the line.