On Saturday afternoon, the Central Coast Mariners will lock horns with Wellington Phoenix at WIN Stadium in Wollongong. It will be the second time this year that the sides have met in Wollongong, after COVID restrictions forced the relocation of the New Zealand team to Sydney’s south once more.
The last time the sides met, the Mariners enjoyed a romantic Valentine’s Day in the sunshine at WIN Stadium, as they ran out 2-0 winners thanks to strikes either side of half time from Matt Simon and Oliver Bozanic. The Phoenix have lost their top goalscorer in Ulises Davilla to Macarthur and are coming off the back of a 1-1 draw with the Campbelltown side in Round One.
The Mariners have won four of the last seven A-League games and will be looking at opening the season with back-to-back wins much like last season. If the Mariners happen to claim the three points it will be the first time since 2016 that they have beaten the Phoenix in consecutive matches.
Wellington’s shot stopper Oliver Sail has the highest save percentage in the league so if the Mariners are wanting to break the deadlock on Saturday, they will have to ensure that their shooting maintains the same accuracy as last Sunday’s effort against the Jets, where they led the league for shots/shots on target percentage.
Ahead of the clash, Mariners defender Ruon Tongyik spoke to the media and toughed on the instant impact that Jacob Farrell has made to the squad.
“I remember seeing him at training when he first arrived and thought who is this kid, but I quickly learnt and now the whole of the Central Coast is proud of him after what he was able to do last weekend.”Ruon Tongyik
“Monty [Nick Montgomey] has a never say die attitude and this season I really think he is going to get the best out of everyone at the club and going into this game, if we play the way we want to play, I have no doubts we can come away with the three points” Tongyik said.
Mariners Head Coach Nick Montgomery highlighted his thoughts behind team selection for tomorrow’s match.
“We’ll assess the squad today after the session and we will pick the team that is going to give us the best chance of getting the three points. Consistency is key however, and we want to keep a settled team as much as possible.”
“It’s going to be a good game. We are going to go there expecting nothing less than a battle and hopefully we can perform like we did last week.”Nick Montgomery
Wellington Phoenix v Central Coast Mariners
WIN Stadium, Wollongong, NSW
Kick Off: 17:05 AEDT