Season Preview: Central Coast Mariners

As season 8 of the A-League moves ever close, here’s part 2 of our extensive league wide preview, today taking a look at our old adverseries- Central Coast Mariners.

Last Season: 1st (Lost Preliminary Final to Perth Glory)

Premiers –just- and a model of consistency for most of the season, Arnie’s men claimed the top spot in the league with a 2-1 win up here in Brisbane and never looked back. They were cruising towards the Premiership until Brisbane went down to Gosford and beat them in February. From their they limped over the line with some inconsistent performances before being bounced in the playoffs and flattering to deceive in Asia. The loss of key men Rostyn Griffiths and Matt Simon in the title run in didn’t do them any favours either.

Manager: Graham Arnold

Despite being written off as a bad coach following an unsuccessful 2007 Asian Cup with the Socceroos, Arnie has come in and done a magnificent job with the club from Gosford. His belief in his system has seen them be equally as consistent and Brisbane were under Postecoglou and the 2 year battle between the Mariners and their 4-4-2 and Roar’s 4-3-3 were really great matches.

Arnold typically deploys a narrow 4-4-2 with the fullbacks overlapping to provide the width. They can be more direct at times but they can also get it down and play on the ground. He may have to tweak his formation/style a little this season as they got found out late on in the A-League season, and in the AFC Champions League.

Squad: 1. Matt Ryan, 2. Daniel McBreen, 3. Josh Rose, 4. Pedj Bojic, 5. Zac Anderson, 6. Patrick Zwaanswijk, 7. John Hutchinson, 8. Adriano Pellegrino, 9. Benie Ibini-Isei, 10. Tom Rogic, 11. Oliver Bozanic, 12. Troy Hearfield, 13. Brent Griffiths, 14. Michael McGlinchey, 15. Brad McDonald, 16. Trent Sainsbury, 17. Anthony Caceres, 18. Nick Montgomery, 19. Mitchell Duke, 20. Justin Pasfield, 21. Mile Sterjovski, 22. James Oates, 23. Adam Kwasnik.

Ins: Mitchell Duke (Central Coast Mariners NYL), James Oates (Central Coast Mariners NYL) Anthony Caceres (Central Coast Mariners NYL), Zac Anderson (Gold Coast United), Mile Sterjovski (Dalian Aerbin), Brent Griffiths (Wellington Phoenix)

Outs: Stuart Musialik (released), John Sutton (Heart of Midlothian- Loan Return), Sam Gallagher (Melbourne Victory), Mustafa Amini (Borussia Dortmund- Loan Return), Brad Porter (retired), Alex Wilkinson (Jeonbuk Motors), Trent McClenahan (Sydney FC)

 

Key in: Nick Montgomery

In what is largely a young and inexperienced squad, former Sheffield United man Montgomery balances it out slightly with a host of experience in the English League system. The tough tackling central midfielder should go some way to replacing Rostyn Griffiths- whom they missed upon his departure to China.

Key out: Alex Wilkinson

‘Mr Central Coast Mariners’ as he’s been labelled, Alex Wilkinson will be a massive loss in many ways for Central Coast this season. His leadership, defensive ability and love for the club made him a fan favourite and one of the league’s top defenders. He’s now moved on to the K-League for a new adventure. It will be up to former Gold Coast United defender Zac Anderson to step up and fill the boots of Central Coast’s favourite son.

Possible starting line-up:

 

Strengths: Continuity

For 2 seasons now Arnold has largely kept the same core together and they have a terrific understanding of how they play and it’s been the biggest factor in their success. 13 members of the squad have been a part of the Mariners setup under Arnold’s regime since day one so expect more of the same this season.


Weaknesses: Inexperience

It could be that Arnold has tremendous faith in his young players, it could be their ownership situation or it could be something completely different but this Mariners squad has a lot of players with very little experience in it. When you look beyond the starting 11 and the key reserves there’s a lot of if’s and maybe’s about their group. If one or two of them don’t step up into the top 15 this season it could be left to the core from the previous 2 seasons to carry the load, and do they have another run in them?

One to watch: Tom Rogic

Burst onto the scene late in the year following his time with the Nike Academy and he was a revelation in the final weeks of the competition. Bigger and stronger than Mustafa Amini, Rogic could be one of the players to watch this campaign if he can find  a little more consistency in his performances.


Record vs. Brisbane:
Played 28: Won 15, Drawn 9, Lost 4. Goals for 53, Goals against 36. Goal dif- +13.


Last Season:

Round 1:  Brisbane Roar 1-0 Central Coast Mariners
Round 11: Brisbane Roar 1-2 Central Coast Mariners

Round 19: Central Coast Mariners 0-2 Brisbane Roar

MSF 1: Brisbane Roar 2-0 Central Coast Mariners
MSF 2: Central Coast Mariners 2-3 Brisbane Roar


When do we play:
Round 8:
  Bluetongue Stadium

Round 19: Suncorp Stadium

Round 25: . Bluetongue Stadium

*Times listed are local

Pre-Season record:
Hard to find an exhaustive list of Central Coast’s pre-season results that I came across

Central Coast Mariners 1-0 Skilleroos
Central Coast Mariners 6-0 White City
Adelaide United 2-0 Central Coast Mariners
Central Coast Mariners 1-1 Melbourne Victory

Central Coast Mariners 1-2 Newcastle Jets

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