Central Coast goalkeeper Mark Birighitti expects the Mariners to pick up where they left off last season as they travel to take on Newcastle in their A-League Men season opener.
The Mariners finished third in the 2020-21 season, ending a seven-year finals drought after claiming the wooden spoon the year prior.
Birighitti hopes the standard set under departed manager Alen Stajcic will be continued under Nick Montgomery from the get-go in Sunday's F3 derby.
"The boys are raring to go and what a game - a derby in Newcastle against my old mob," the 30-year-old said of the club he played for between 2012-16.
"The boys are confident and really looking forward to getting going again.
"I harped on a little bit about last season, and that was a fantastic year.
"But that's forgotten about now, that's the benchmark we've set.
"We need to do better, we're pushing for finals football again and if not winning the competition."
Montgomery has looked to stamp his mark on the Mariners' squad by bringing in Frenchman Beni Nkololo, former Tottenham youngster Cy Goddard and Brazilian striker Moresche, all of whom played in last week's FFA Cup win over Blacktown.
It's the Jets, however, who have been the most active of the two clubs in the transfer market.
New coach Arthur Papas, who was part of Ange Postecoglou's staff as they led Yokohama F. Marinos to the J-League title in 2019, has brought in 15 new faces.
It's been a lean few years for the Jets who finished one spot off bottom last year and have only made the finals twice since their 2008 grand final win.
But Papas is confident Newcastle's tactical blueprint will lead to results that can restore some pride to the jersey.
"I've said all along that it's about us and how we want to grow and the journey we are on," Papas said.
"We're trying to develop a way of playing that suits the city - hardworking, aggressive, never taking a backward step.
"Trying to play forward, trying to score goals, that's what it's all about.
"It doesn't happen overnight, but hopefully it excites our fans."