Agony to ecstasy: Reborn Vukovic ready to lead Mariners

At 39, Danny Vukovic knows the end of the line is approaching.

But someone ought to tell Vukovic that's the case, because he doesn't look like it and the numbers back it up.

Vukovic will lead the Central Coast Mariners out in Saturday's A-League Men grand final against Melbourne Victory, 18 years after being part of the competition's first ALM decider.

Registering a league-high 13 clean sheets en route to an A-League premiership, the goalkeeper has shown few signs that time is against him this season.

Vukovic, whose professional career began back in the old NSL as a 17-year-old for Parramatta Power, is still savouring every moment.

And given his form and the Mariners' unprecedented success - which also includes the AFC Cup - why would he want to give it up?

agony to ecstasy: reborn vukovic ready to lead mariners

Danny Vukovic (front centre) has led the Central Coast Mariners into the A-League Men grand final. (James Gourley/AAP PHOTOS)

"You hope for the best and I wanted a long career … but at this age to be playing it's pretty crazy," Vukovic told AAP.

"As captain, all I try to do is lead by example and work as hard as I possibly can, and hopefully the boys will see that, if I can do it at my age, then they can too.

"It is obviously on my mind, and at this age and you have to think about it (retirement).

"I'll wait until the end of the season. I said last year after the grand final that I was done, but then after two weeks of the off-season I was ready to keep going."

Vukovic's leadership was singled out by Graham Arnold this week as a key reason for the Mariners' revival, with the club now on the cusp of back-to-back championships.

But as well as revitalising the Mariners, Vukovic has also had to breathe life back into his own career.

After struggling for game time with Dutch side NEC Nijmegen, the four-cap Socceroos goalkeeper, to his regret, took his frustration out in the weights room.

"I wasn't playing at my club in Holland, so I got really stuck into pumping heavy weights and went a bit too hard," Vukovic said.

"I had tears in each of my shoulders, in my rotator cuffs, which was quite painful. I couldn't make saves at full stretch … it was just agony.

agony to ecstasy: reborn vukovic ready to lead mariners

Danny Vukovic, making a save in the semi-final, kept a league-best 13 clean sheets this season. (James Gourley/AAP PHOTOS)

"Once it's done it's so hard to repair because you're constantly training and re-injuring them.

"I played all of last season injured, but this year I've got them right and have been able to train at a much higher level, and I think my performances show that."

Vukovic says he will come good on a promise to winger Christian Theoharous to dye his hair peroxide blonde if the Mariners win Saturday's grand final.

He also has designs on another tattoo - Vukovic already has Mariners ink on his right thigh - to commemorate the club's trophy-laden season.

"To be able to do what we've done this year may never be done again," Vukovic said.

"What we've had to get through to be at this point is exceptional, and it's an incentive to write some history."

OTHER NEWS

12 minutes ago

BMW details hydrogen plans... if it doesn't pull the plug

12 minutes ago

Google Chrome users targeted in a new scam

13 minutes ago

Dollar subdued near 160 yen level as threat of intervention looms

13 minutes ago

Forgot where you put the keys? Experts (and a trivia buff) share tips to boost memory

13 minutes ago

Tour Down Under wants big name for 25th birthday race

13 minutes ago

Historic Regent Cinemas Ballarat announces closure, effective immediately

13 minutes ago

Rhys Hoskins' grand slam sparks Brewers to 6-3 victory over Rangers

13 minutes ago

‘Starstruck’s Alice Snedden Helming Channel 4 Comedy About Love & The Cost-Of-Living Crisis

13 minutes ago

Frank Murray & Frida Torresblanco’s Hangtime Lands First Production Gig With ‘The Night Manager’ Season 2

13 minutes ago

‘Stuff The British Stole’ Doc Series Adapted As Scripted TV Heist Caper; Wooden Horse, Warner Bros, Anchuli Felicia King & Ben Chessell Attached

13 minutes ago

‘We now ask you to rise up’: open letter to Lindiwe Sisulu, Limpho Hani, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and Makaziwe Mandela

13 minutes ago

Astronauts from Boeing's Starliner were supposed to be in space for 8 days. Now they're stuck there with no scheduled return date.

13 minutes ago

Roberto Luongo fires up Panthers fans with drum before Game 7

13 minutes ago

Euro 2024: Kylian Mbappé gifted Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle mask ahead of match vs. Poland

13 minutes ago

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange boards plane at Stansted airport as he begins journey to freedom

13 minutes ago

Elle St. Pierre Wins the Olympic Trials 5,000 Meters—with Her Son Watching from the Stands

13 minutes ago

The Who’s Pete Townshend announces ‘poignant and poetic’ Quadrophenia ballet

13 minutes ago

US will finance printing of 3 million textbooks for Ukrainian students

13 minutes ago

Titans' DeAndre Hopkins named a 'player to root for' in 2024

13 minutes ago

Ramírez's tiebreaking homer in 6th lifts Guardians to 6th straight win, 3-2 over slumping Orioles

13 minutes ago

City of Sydney could tear up contracts with suppliers targeted by boycott Israel campaign

13 minutes ago

Joe Biden: Adas Torah pro-Palestinian riot 'antisemitic' and 'un-American'

13 minutes ago

Selma Blair wears braided hair tie for Paris Fashion Week: See the photos

13 minutes ago

Iran's supreme leader calls for 'maximum' turnout for presidential election

13 minutes ago

Woman arrested after police find dead body in backseat of crashed car

13 minutes ago

Iran's supreme leader calls for 'maximum' voter turnout in Friday's presidential election to 'overcome the enemy'

13 minutes ago

Jodie Foster Says Directors ‘Don't Listen to Me' Sometimes and ‘I'll Work on a Movie Where I Have to Do 120 Takes' and Respond: ‘Alright, Bye'

13 minutes ago

Dustin Johnson enduring LIV Golf misery as former world No.1 sees nightmare continue

13 minutes ago

Singers Yu Tian and Li Ya-ping seek guardianship of grandkids after son-in-law’s arrest

13 minutes ago

Brazil held to 0-0 draw by Costa Rica in a stunner to open Copa America group play

13 minutes ago

Gold prices in Qatar Today Monday, June 24, 2024

13 minutes ago

Solar panels paving the path to new recycling hub

13 minutes ago

Princess Anne's planned trip to Newfoundland cancelled following injury

13 minutes ago

Video: England fans forced to drink lager from 'champagne flute-style' glasses - but they're full of hope the Three Lions will triumph in Euros clash with Slovenia at 8pm TODAY

13 minutes ago

Video: Julian Assange's brother reveals WikiLeaks founder could move 'to the Australian bush' to 'rest and recover' after being held in Belmarsh prison on US spy charges

13 minutes ago

Video: You make HOW much? Bank of Dave lifts lid on phone swiping epidemic in shocking gang interview

13 minutes ago

Video: Julian Assange's wife Stella brands 'outrageous' US spying case against WikiLeaks founder and reveals she feels a 'whirlwind of emotion' after his release from Belmarsh prison

13 minutes ago

Fueled by climate change, extreme wildfires have doubled in 20 years

13 minutes ago

Italian papers hail a 'MIRACLE' to qualify for Euro 2024 last 16 with last-gasp equaliser against Croatia... and compare Mattia Zaccagni to Italy football legend after 98th-minute stunner

13 minutes ago

Mature student, 49, who scooped £5million Omaze London town house with a £10 ticket puts it on the market - just two months after winning the three-bedroom home