Adelaide United defender Nigel Boogaard says the club’s dismal finals record “hurts” but believes there’s a determination among the current group to get it right.
The Reds have lost nine of their 14 finals matches throughout the course of the A-League’s nine-year history, winning only two of those games during normal time.
It took the Reds three finals series to finally get their first play-off win, despite being premiers in season one.
However, the record extends to the current brigade, with the side bowing out in their home Elimination Final 2-1 to Brisbane Roar last year. Two years prior to that, they also went down 3-2 at home to Gold Coast United in the semi-finals.
Boogaard, who has played in Adelaide’s past two finals series, said it was hard to know the reasons behind their poor record ahead of Saturday’s sudden death clash away to his former club Central Coast.
“I don’t think you can ever pinpoint it and say there is the reason we don’t do well in finals,” Boogaard said.
“Last year we came up against a strong Brisbane side and a few years ago when Gold Coast rolled us, Smeltzy scored a wonder goal to set the tone for them.
“It’s something which the club unfortunately hasn’t got right but this year is as good as any.
“I think there’s a determination in this group. There’s not a lot of boys left from those early years. Last year was a bit different, but it hurts.
“You want to do well in the finals, you want to play in the Grand Final and achieve things. We all play football to win.”
Newcastle-born Boogaard, 27, left Central Coast for Adelaide in 2010 after five years at the Gosford club and said returning to his former club added spice to the Elimination Final on a personal level.
“Obviously I know a few faces and it’s the club where I got a start professionally,” he said.
“It’s a big chance for me to go back there and prove I’ve gone on to become a better player than when I was there.”
Meanwhile, Boogaard weighed into the debate on Reds coach Josep Gombau’s selection for the A-League All-Stars to take on Juventus in August.
Boogaard played a full game for the All Stars under Ange Postecoglou against Manchester United last year and felt Gombau was a good choice.
“He’ll approach the game in the right manner, as we did under Ange and showcase Australian football and not sit back,” he said.
“I’m sure whatever team he picks will go out there, try to play football against Juventus.”
The former Australia youth international also credited the charismatic Spaniard for revitalising him in his first season in charge.
“It’s been a refreshing for me personally,” Boogaard said. “I’ve enjoyed the style of football he’s wanted to play.
“He’s a straight shooter. He tells you how it is, he won’t sugar coat it.
“If you’ve done something wrong he’ll tell you, which is for the betterment of the players. I definitely appreciate that.”comments