Central Coast are desperate to bolster their squad during the January transfer window but there will be no return for former star playmaker Tom Rogic.
Mariners coach Phil Moss confirmed after his side's 1-0 win over Sydney FC on Saturday night that they tried feverishly to entice Rogic back to the club on loan but failed.
While Sydney FC were another club keen on Rogic it appears the 20-year-old, currently at Scottish giants Celtic, will join A-League rivals Melbourne Victory on a six month loan deal.
But it's not because the Mariners didn't go all out to get his signature, with Moss revealing owner Mike Charlesworth and new chief executive Bruce Stalder had done all they could to make a deal happen.
"It looks as though we've fallen a bit short but that's not through lack of trying or lack of endeavour," Moss said.
"It looks as though he'll sign elsewhere. I've spoken to Tommy quite a few times in the past few days.
"He's a great guy, a fantastic player and I hope he makes the right decision for the sake of Australian football because we need him fit and firing at the World Cup."
With Michael McGlinchey moving to Japan and a knee-injury bringing Marcos Flores’ season to a premature end, Moss said Rogic would have been an ideal replacement but believes the youngster was talked out of a return to Gosford.
"Yeah of course (he would have been the perfect fit for us) and I believe we would have been a perfect fit for him," the Mariners boss said.
"But Tommy's a big boy now, he's a European professional and he's got people around him advising him where to go.
"I just hope he makes the right decision but certainly we tried our hardest."
Moss said the club was most likely looking abroad to bolster their squad and is confident of finding at least one new signing before the transfer window closes.
And if he can they will join a side that appears to be hitting its straps at just the right time.
The Mariners moved up to third thanks to Mile Sterjovski's deflected second half effort but should have won by a lot more if not for some wasteful finishing.
"I think we've been building to this," a delighted Moss said.
"I said during the week with all the changes we had it was like sailing a ship into a storm and you can see over the last few weeks that there's calmer waters ahead and that's a credit to everyone.
"No-one's lost the belief. I'm just proud as punch of the boys and how they've come through a difficult period.
"But it's not over yet. The table is still very tight and one bad result can turn a lot of things around."
Moss gave special praise to defender Trent Sainsbury who he believes is ready to play at a "higher level", while youngster Anthony Caceres was also excellent in midfield as cover for suspended skipper John Hutchinson.
Meanwhile, a disappointed Frank Farina promised to ring the changes after hinting some of his players simply gave up after going a goal behind.
It's now five games without a win for Sydney and it seems Farina has had enough, threatening to wield the axe ahead of their Australia Day clash with Melbourne Victory.
The Sky Blues boss said he expected more from all his squad, accusing some of his players of throwing in the towel after going behind just before the hour mark.
"I expected a better reaction after the goal and if I'm not going to get that then I'll try players that hopefully will," a furious Farina said.
"I'm not going to go into individuals but I was disappointed with the reaction after (the Mariners goal).
"We've shown since the time I've been here that we'll fight until the end but I don't think we did that as well as we could.
"Tonight was a good opportunity to jump back in (the top six) and we didn't do it and some of the performances weren't as good as I expected...so if we have to change we'll change.
"It's about winning games of football and getting points. I'm not happy with that tonight."