Barbarouses wants ‘crowning’ ALM title at Wellington

Ben McKay |

Phoenix star Kosta Barbarouses would love to bring first A-League silverware to Wellington.
Phoenix star Kosta Barbarouses would love to bring first A-League silverware to Wellington.

Wellington Phoenix will boast their best home crowd of the season as they steel themselves for one final dash to the line, and potentially, a first trophy in their A-League Men’s club history.

A Nix win over Macarthur – who they’ve beaten twice already this season – and a Central Coast loss in the F3 Derby in Newcastle in a concurrent kickoff would see the club win the premiership on Saturday.

The Premiers Plate is being flown to New Zealand for Saturday’s occasion, raising hopes for a groundbreaking win.

The Phoenix expect the Sky Stadium stands to be rocking on Saturday (Masanori Udagawa/AAP PHOTOS)

Kosta Barbarouses is in his third stint with his hometown club after winning trophies with Brisbane Roar, Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC.

The 34-year-old said winning Wellington’s first trophy would be “a crowning achievement” in his distinguished career.

“We came close when I was really young, and making a semi the last time I was here,” he said.

“To do it this year would be unbelievable, in front of my friends and family that I’ve grown up, two young kids now that have lived here for two years. It would be incredible,” he said.

“We’ve given ourselves every chance to do the business this weekend to see where we land in the premiership and then again, all to play for in the finals.”

Kosta Barbarouses is bidding for an ALM trophy with a fourth club. (Andrew Cornaga/AAP PHOTOS)

Saturday’s matches may also not be conclusive.

Central Coast – who sit a point behind Wellington – have a catch-up game to play after their travel home from AFC Cup duty in Kyrgyzstan was disrupted, forcing a home clash with Adelaide to be rescheduled.

That curve-ball means the Nix could also be forced into a viewing party next Wednesday night, hoping for Nestory Irankunda’s side to do them a favour.

Barbarouses said players wanted Super Saturday to be decisive, but understood the situation.

“You want to give everyone a fair chance. It’s probably the right thing with player welfare,” he said.

“Nothing we can control. We just got to win … and we’ll be glued to the TVs on Wednesday.”

The Mariners have been rocked after star forward Angel Torres was arrested on Tuesday, charged with aggravated sexual intercourse without consent.

In the time between the alleged incidents and his arrest, the Colombian scored goals in tight wins over Melbourne City and the Phoenix, but the 24-year-old has now been stood down.

Barbarouses said he didn’t know how it would impact the Mariners.

“They’ve got honestly unbelievable character in their team,” he said.

“Will it affect them? I don’t know. But definitely a big missing piece for them.”

Strong advance ticket sales for Saturday’s match mean it will be Wellington’s best Sky Stadium crowd of the season, with a kids-go-free promotion meaning the Nix could even nudge a club-record 21,000 for a regular season match.