Central Coast Mariners can't match the financial resources or star power of some other A-League clubs, but defender Jake McGing said the side is not going to sit back and hope for the best.
Central Coast won the 2012-13 season grand final. It made the finals again the following year, but slipped to a disappointing eighth last season. Only a few players from those halcyon days under Graham Arnold are still at the club.
But the Mariners refuse to lie down and are planning to play their way out of last season's funk with a revamped line-up and playing style.
"Basically, we want to be a more entertaining team than last season," McGing said.
"That's our goal. We want to be more attacking in general and keep the ball a lot more. We want to be a bit more exciting.
"It's about being more attractive and finding the best way for this team to play to get results. Our main goal is to entertain our fans, play a style that gets people into the stadium, and we believe we've got the players who have the ability to do that."
McGing is 21 and is yet to play in an A-League game. He has a background in youth team football for Western Sydney Wanderers and then the Mariners. But he is going to have to be a major ingredient in any improvement by Central Coast.
McGing used to be a midfielder, but he has been switched to centre-back by coach Tony Walmsley and will be called upon to use his passing and skill on the ball to help get attacking moves started.
"A spot opened up in the central defence and the coaching staff thought it was the best position for me," McGing said.
"I didn't think I'd like it as much as I did. After all, no-one is supposed to like defending, but I actually love it.
"At the start it was a bit difficult, but once I found my groove it became a lot easier. I really enjoy it, it's awesome."
The Mariners used McGing at centre-back in the Central Coast FC side that plays in the NPL NSW Men's 2 competition during the winter, to start getting him used to the position.
He played there in Central Coast's most recent trial match resulted in a 1-0 loss to Newcastle Jets at Orange on Sunday.
"It's been mixed results during the pre-season, but in terms of the football we've been playing we're definitely on the right track with this more possession-based style," McGing said.
"It's a work in progress and we're definitely looking good for the start of the season, in my opinion.
"We're going to go in there with a different mindset this season and I'm confident we should be able to at least push for the finals, if not higher."
McGing said he was happy with his own form as he shapes up for what appears a likely A-League debut in round one.
"I played a full game against Newcastle. I've played a lot of games in the pre-season," he said.
"Most of the time it's been me and Eddy Bosnar in the central defence, but Harry Ascroft has been there at other times as well.
"I think I've been doing well in the games. I've had lots of positive feedback from the coach. But he's keeping all of us on our toes, so no-one really knows until we get to that first game who's going to play. But I think I'm in good stead for it."