Melbourne Victory midfielder Tom Pondeljak's feelings are far from those he felt when he was on the receiving end of two grand final losses. The 33-year old is on the verge of playing in his third A-League decider (this Saturday against Adelaide United) and does not even want to begin thinking about another loss.
Pondeljak was a member of the Central Coast Mariners side that lost the first A-League grand final; the 2005/06 clash with Sydney FC and was again in a losing side when the Mariners lost the 2007/08 version to the Newcastle Jets.
Now the veteran is back for another chance to finally claim the team prize that has so far eluded him.
"I definitely don't want to think about losing again," Pondeljak told SBS.
"Losing a grand final is very heartbreaking. You put in the hard yards throughout the season to give yourself every opportunity.
"Obviously grand finals are very hard to come by in anyone's career so when you do get that opportunity it is a massive occasion with a lot of emotion.
"So when you do lose it is pretty gut-wrenching. You can only hope to learn from what you've done wrong and get it right the next time.
"For this reason I'm hungry to get my hands on a championship medal.
"Hopefully things go well for us on Saturday and I'll have a big smile on my face because I don't want to go through that (losing) feeling ever again."