Team Wellington captain Bill Robertson hoping third time's the charm in OFC Champions League final
Bill Robertson knows all too well the pain of an OFC Champions League final defeat.
The Team Wellington captain has guided his team to their third-straight decider against Auckland City, starting with the first leg in Auckland on Sunday, having lost the previous two which saw them miss out on playing at the Club World Cup.
The first of those losses came via the cruelty of a penalty shootout, but the 32-year-old was confident this year would be different.
Not only is the squad arguably the best Team Wellington has produced, but they won their second consecutive New Zealand national league title on April 2, again beating Auckland in the final.
"We've shown over the course of the season we play an attacking brand of football, score a lot of goals, we're capable of scoring against any opposition and we've shown in the [New Zealand] grand final we're capable of giving Auckland City a run for their money," Robertson said on Friday.
"We're going into the game full of confidence and looking forward to it."
This year's OFC decider is over two legs, starting at Kiwitea St on Sunday before the return leg at David Farrington Park in Wellington a week later.
That presents a unique challenge for both sides, but one they experienced in their respective semifinals.
Robertson said it shouldn't change how they approach the first leg.
"I think it's important we don't read too much into the first-leg, second-leg mentality.
"We've got to go there and try to win it, obviously as the game goes on and moments come up we'll look to have a bit more control and managing those situations, if we're ahead, if we're behind, what do we need to do?
"That's for the senior players to manage on the pitch, but our mindset going into the game is we're going there to win and nothing else."
As for the prize of a spot at the Club World Cup for the winner, Robertson had allowed himself to dream of what might be, but wouldn't be getting too carried away.
"I mean obviously you sit down and start to think of what could be, but it's my role and some of the senior boys' roles to keep us grounded and keep focused on the task.
"Auckland City are a very good side and have been the benchmark for a number of years, winning the competition for six years in a row, so they go into the game as favourites and it's going to be a huge task, but one we feel we're capable of achieving."
AT A GLANCE
What: OFC Champions League semifinal, leg one
Where and when: Kiwitea St, Auckland, Sunday 2pm
TAB: Auckland $2.30, Wellington $2.60, draw $3.40
ROAD TO THE FINAL
Group stage: 2-1 win v Western United, 2-0 win v Lae City Dwellers, 11-0 win v Malampa Revivors
Semifinal v Tefana: 2-0 away and 2-0 at home for 4-0 aggregate win
Group stage: 4-1 win v Puaikura, 3-1 win v Hienghene Sport, 8-0 win v Ba
Semifinal v AS Magenta: 2-2 draw away and 7-1 win at home for 9-3 aggregate win