Hyundai A-League | Mariners Matchday 20 Preview


The Mariners will return to Central Coast Stadium on Sunday, taking on the Wellington Phoenix in the eighth annual #PinkRound.

The teams have only met once so far this year, with the Phoenix triumphing 2-1 early in the New Year despite the Mariners striking the woodwork twice in the first half.

Since then the two sides have been on different trajectories though, with the Mariners winning just once before embarking on the current seven match winless streak while Wellington sit fourth on the table ahead of this clash and Alen Stajcic praised this weekend’s opponents on Friday.

“I think I said earlier in the year, they’re one of the favourites for the competition, and I don’t think my view on that has changed,” he said.

“They’ve got a fantastic front line, Ball and Hooper, and DeVere in behind who gives them that creative spark, and Piscopo is really growing into the A-League as well.”

“They’re looking like a really cohesive unit up front, and at the back, Ufuk has done a fantastic job in getting that team together and improving on the good foundation that they had last year.”

“You’ve got to give credit to them as a team and as a club, but we know that we played pretty well against them in pretty difficult conditions last time out.”

Stajcic is welcoming back Danny DeSilva and Tommy Oar after they both missed the clash with Western United, but said it’s unlikely that teenager Alou Kuol features for the second week in a row.

“It’ll be tough [for him], with Tommy and Danny coming back into the squad, so I’m not sure he’ll be in the squad this week,” Stajcic said.

“But it’s about giving him the opportunity, and drip feeding him into our first team, and into our training environment.

“We’ve already got five or six players under the age of 20 in our squad, which is probably above average for an A-League team, but Alou is certainly knocking on the door, and I think that it just shows our strategy as a club.”


Strong performances against Adelaide United and then Sydney FC went unrewarded before last weekend the Mariners were well beaten by Western United, but Stajcic was confident that his side can show their true colours against the Phoenix with a strong performance.

“You can’t sulk forever, it’s important that we rebound quickly,” he said.

“It wasn’t a great performance, as we all know, from last week.”

“It’s important that we get back down to hard work and rebound physically, and start focussing on the next game because if you focus too long on that game, you can start dwelling on all the errors and dwelling on the past, when really we need to focus on the future.

The good part is, we had two good performances the two weeks prior, and I think we let ourselves down a little bit last week.”

“I still hold confidence that the performances against Adelaide and Sydney are the true Mariners, and last week was possibly just a bit of a letdown, during the match rather than the whole match, and in key moments, so it’s important that we get back on the bike as quick as we can, and start being positive and focussing on the game with Wellington.”

Squads |

Central Coast Mariners squad: 1. Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk), 2.Ian Zygmunt GORDON, 3.Jack CLISBY, 4. Eunsun KIM, 7. Milan ÐURIĆ, 8. Michael MCGLINCHEY, 9. Jordan MURRAY, 10. Tommy OAR, 11. Daniel DESILVA, 12. Adam PEARCE (gk), 15. Kye ROWLES, 17. Sam SILVERA, 18. Gianni STENSNESS, 19. Matt SIMON, 21. Ruon TONGYIK, 24. Chris HAROLD, 26. Joshua NISBET, 27. Lewis MILLER, 29. Jair BRITTO, 44. Alou KUOL **2-4 to be omitted**

In: 10.Tommy OAR (Promoted), 11.Daniel DESILVA (Return from Illness)

Outs: Nil



Wellington Phoenix squad: 1.Stefan MARINOVIC (gk), 2.Liam McGING, 3.Luke DEVERE, 4.Te Atawhai HUDSON-WIHONGI, 5.Matti STEINMANN, 6.Tim PAYNE, 7.Reno PISCOPO, 8.Cameron DEVLIN, 9. David BALL, 10.Ulises DAVILA, 11.Jaushua SOTIRIO, 12. Brandan Wilson, 13.Liberato CACACE, 14.Alex RUFER, 20.Oliver SAIL (gk), 21.Callum MCCOWATT, 27.Steven TAYLOR (c), 31.Ben WAINE, 32.Sam SUTTON, 88. Gary HOOPER **2-4 to be omitted**

Ins: 2.Liam McGING (Promoted), 31. Ben WAINE (Promoted)

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: 16.Louis FENTON (Shoulder – season), 23.Walter SCOTT (Injury – Knee)


Match Details |

Sunday, 8th March

Central Coast Stadium, Gosford

Kick-off: 4:00pm (AEDT)


Referee: Adam Kersey

Assistant Referee 1: Anton Shchetinin

Assistant Referee 2: Lance Greenshields

Fourth Official: Ben Abraham

VAR: Kate Jacewicz

Broadcast: Fox Sports 505

Stream: Kayo Sports, MyFootball Live App

Radio: Coast FM,