Just two months after lifting the Championship trophy following a historic 6-1 win over Melbourne City in the A-League Men’s Grand Final, the Central Coast are back in action tomorrow afternoon.
The game will mark the first competitive match of the campaign for the Mariners, as we kick off our Australia Cup journey against Sydney FC at WIN Stadium.
Just over 12 months since the Sky Blues played host to the Mariners in the exact same stage of the competition, the two teams will meet again, with the Central Coast aiming to secure a big win and progress to the Round of 16.
Sydney FC and Central Coast Mariners have had a strong rivalry since our first match against each other in September 2005, when the Mariners came away 3-2 winners thanks to a 90th minute Noel Spencer goal.
The two teams have faced off over 50 times since that day, regularly producing close and enthralling contests. That has certainly been the case over the past nine meetings, with both the Central Coast and Sydney winning four a piece, with one solitary draw.
Last season in the A-League it was also 1-all after two matches played, with both teams winning their home game by one goal.
After not playing each other in the first six editions of the Australia Cup, this will be the third consecutive Cup competition where the Mariners will take on the Sky Blues at Sydney’s home ground.
An 82nd minute Marco Ureña penalty in the 2021 semi-final saw the Mariners come out 1-0 winners and progress to our first ever Australia Cup final.
A year later far more goals were on the menu, as it ended 3-all after extra time. With an average squad age of only 21 years the Central Coast unfortunately lost on penalties, levelling the scores at 1-all between the clubs in the Cup.
Both the Central Coast Mariners and Sydney FC have seen large changes to their squads that competed in the A-League Men’s last season, with many fresh faces being added in the lead up to tomorrow’s match.
After winning the A-League Championship back in June, the Mariners have seen many players sold to big overseas clubs.
Both Nectar Triantis and Sammy Silvera have departed for the English Championship with Sunderland and Middlesbrough respectively, while James McGarry has moved to the Scottish Premiership with Aberdeen FC.
Jason Cummings signed for Indian Super League club Mohun Bagan after picking up a hattrick and the Joe Marston Medal in the Grand Final, whole Beni Nkololo and Moresche have also left the Coast.
Our head coach Nick Montgomery has been active in signing new additions, with Alou Kuol and Jing Reec both joining from Europe to strengthen our attack.
Youngsters Jack Warshawsky, Nathan Paull and Trent Millard have all signed with the club, while Noah Smith has returned to the Central Coast after a season away. Versatile Brazilian Doka has also joined the Mariners, arriving after over a decade in Santos’ academy and youth system.
Sydney FC have lost a number of experienced players from their squad, with Alex Wilkinson retiring, as well as Adam Le Fondre, Paulo Retre, James Donachie and Diego Caballo all moving on.
They have added youngsters Zac De Jesus, Matt Scarcella, Mitch Glasson and Nathan Amanatidis as their replacements.
Sydney FC vs Central Coast Mariners
Sunday, August 13th
Kick-off: 3:00pm AEST
WIN Stadium, Wollongong
Broadcast: The match will be broadcast live on 10Play