NEIL EMBLEN - WAITAKERE UNITED
ASB Premiership: A week is a long time in football but you must be quietly satisfied with a third consecutive Grand Final?
Neil Emblen: Yeah, but I think it's only a job half done. Its still an all or nothing season. The only way we can pick ourselves up out of the holes we've created is if we go and win the whole thing. That's difficult to do. We've still got a good team to play. If we do that then it becomes a decent season, one we've learned from and got better from. If we don't, then it's a massively disappointing season. We've still got ourselves into a better position than a week ago, but we've a bit to do before we're in the O-League and champions again.
ASB Premiership: Roy Krishna, Ryan de Vries and Allan Pearce all clicked last week in Christchurch - how important are they?
Neil Emblen: You can add Sean Lovemore to that list, he was fantastic. We always rely on them, they're top players. They're our game breakers, our match winners, so we do look to them - at Canterbury we sort of played a front four at times. They all clicked, they took their chances and they all played really really well. When they all click I believe we can be the best team in the league. We have to hope they produce that display instead of what we got the week before which was a bit lacklustre and lacked energy.
ASB Premiership: Chris Bale and Jake Butler have enjoyed good seasons and will also be vital?
Neil Emblen: They are both senior boys now and their who all the young ones look to when things get tough. They've both played in Grand Finals, won Grand Finals, and will lead the team in a positive manner and help the team with the way they're playing. They both know what it's all about.
ASB Premiership: Team Wellington has picked up momentum after a tough start and beat Auckland twice - how do you plan to break down their defence?
Neil Emblen: I think its more of a case which ever defence does well, will determine who wins. There will be so much attacking threat on show that whichever defence copes with it the best will win. We're conscious of Wellington's attacking threat. We have training sessions where our front four are devastating, simply unplayable at times. We have to hope they take theirt chances when they come along. We've not always taken our chances this season and been punished at the other end. If we do take our chances I'm confident we can get the right result.
ASB Premiership: Dakota Lucas is a player you know well from last season, how do you plan for an opponent's abilities?
Neil Emblen: Dakota won Man of the Match in the Grand Final last season and scored two goals. Everyone knows the threat he brings, so that experience will hold him in good stead and he's familiar with the Trusts Stadium. We'll have to keep our eyes on him and try to nullify him. We'll have to stop the supply from forward balls, midfield players, stopping forward balls and deny Wellington any real chances. That's a part of the game we'll have to take a close look at.
ASB Premiership: Were you surprised Team Wellington downed Auckland City in the semi-finals?
Neil Emblen: Surprised? Surprised is probably not the word I would use. When I saw both results, I wasn't surprised but I still expected Auckland City to win. I thought Auckland would win because they have the best squad in the league. But what Team Wellington showed was their first choice senior players can do the job.
The difference between the starting elevens in all four of the top teams is very close. I thought we may be facing Auckland. Wellington have an attacking threat that is hard to beat on their day. They're playing with freedom, they've got great team spirit and unity. I'm sure they'll be confident ahead of Saturday.
MATT CALCOTT - TEAM WELLINGTON
ASB Premiership: How are you feeling ahead of the ASB Premiership Grand Final?
Matt Calcott: There's a bit of confidence that has come about from the last two results. We have to carry on with the momentum we've built up over the last two weeks and ensure we're on song and disciplined. We need to work hard behind the ball because that's been the recipe over the last three or four weeks, not just the semi-finals.
ASB Premiership: Dakota Lucas has hit form at the right time and he's up against his old club - have you spoken with him about the match?
Matt Calcott: I haven't really sat down with too many individuals as yet, we'll do that closer to the match. The main thing is talking to the group about how we'll approach it. There may be a bit of emotion around Dakota's return but he's played Waitakere a couple of times this year already, so its maybe time that was put to bed a little bit.
ASB Premiership: Victory brings with it an OFC Champions League berth next season - has that been part of your thinking?
Matt Calcott: Yeah, it is at the back of our mind. I think its always there at the start of any season. Its been a topic of conversation at Team Wellington for a few years, but we can't afford to focus on that. We need to concern ourselves with the 90 minutes on Saturday and leave pots of gold for another day.
ASB Premiership: Are you going to approach this game differently to how you met the semi-finals?
Matt Calcott: No. The consequences and implications of not winning are a bit bigger, but in terms of how we approach it in the football aspects, in and out of possession, won't change. There may be a different system, maybe players in one or two different positions, but our general approach will be the same.
ASB Premiership: Confidence must be high after downing the minor premiers Auckland City?
Matt Calcott: Yes, confidence is high, but we're not over-confident. Maybe Waitakere have not done as well as they have in the past but it's been easy to forget they've won the past two Grand Finals. Waitakere have got some real pedigree - they have fantastic experience up top and some excellent players in midfield. Once again, we'll have to be at the top of our game to win the match. I think people have to realise there is nothing more dangerous than a wounded Waitakere.
ASB Premiership: Team Wellington has built its success on a solid back four of Justin Gulley, Luke Rowe, James Musa and Johnny Raj - how do you see them matching up with Roy Krishna, Ryan de Vries and Allan Pearce?
Matt Calcott: If that back four take the pitch, then there will be some good match ups there. Our back four are pretty mobile and they'd have to be at the top of their game to stop those three players. They (Pearce, de Vries and Krishna) do tend to play off the cuff a little bit and on a good day they can cause havoc for any team in this league and probably leagues higher above as well.
ASB Premiership: Do you have any injury concerns ahead of Saturday's match?
Matt Calcott: Karl Whalen and Jamie Duncan arrive back in the country tonight and will be training with the squad, so we'll take things from there. Both players have been a big part of the franchise for a while and we'll assess everything at training.