“I’m delighted for everyone at the club” Jacko on Premiers success

Central Coast Mariners Football Manager Mark Jackson reflected on our Premiers Plate win, following our 2-0 home win to Adelaide that saw us seal top spot for the first time in 12 years.

Jacko says he is ‘delighted for everybody at the club‘ and also gave an insight onto the squad’s mentality ahead of their push for a potential historic treble.

🗣 On the game: “We were much better in the second half”

The Mariners weathered an early storm but seized control of the game with Jacob Farrell’s header, before going on to dominate the second half, Max Balard sealing the win and the trophy for the Coasties.

“They put us under some real pressure. We coped with it ok but we could have been better with our pressing and certainly could have been better with the ball, but we had to dig in against a team that we knew would come here and play with freedom and they’ve got great players.” Jackson said.

“We weathered that storm and we knew if we could get to half time in the position we were in [1-0 up] we could address a few things and we did, then in the second half we looked a lot more like we normally play. We played with the ball a lot more, in the structure we talk about.

“We were much better in the second half.” Jacko said.

🥇 On the feeling of lifting the Premiers Plate: “I’m delighted for everyone at the club”

“I’m made up, people keep asking me ‘am I delighted?’ – for me, yeah but I’m more delighted for everybody at the club.” Jackson said.

“Supporters, people behind the scenes, staff and the players, I see every day how hard the players work, how hard the staff work in the office and the football department. I’m made up for the club because it’s well deserved. I’m delighted we could get over the line tonight.”

📈 On bouncing back after the start of the season

Previously, the record for the most consecutive losses at the start of the season by an eventual Premiers winner was Marconi in 1979 with two.

Maybe an unwanted record to some, but it shows the resilience of the squad and Jackson credits ‘a culmination of hard work, belief and courage’ from his team, as they responded to four straight defeats with an incredible 55 from the next 69 points to storm to top spot.

Asked if he was proud of leading a record-breaking turnaround, Jacko said:

“Yeah, I can’t do anything by myself though. I have to have strong staff around me who are willing to work and believe in what we want to achieve and I’ve got to have strong-willed players to want to take on board the information.”

“I’m pleased for everybody who was part of that, it’s never just one person who can change things. It’s a culmination of hard work, belief and courage to stick through those tough times and we’ve managed to come through that and finish top of the league, and we still have games and trophies to play for.”

⭐️ Jacob Farrell and Max Balard

Nurturing young players is at the heart of the Mariners’ identity, so it’s fitting that the’ heroes of the night were two academy products.

Balard and Farrell came through the same crop of players from the NPL squad into the first team, captained by Dan Hall and also included Bradley Tapp and Harry Steele.

Jackson described it as ‘delightful’, seeing them star on our big night.

“You saw after the game how delighted they were, you saw in their celebrations as well. For a local boy like Faz who’s been fantastic this season to score and Max as well who was fighting to get that first goal and now they seem to be coming, it’s delightful.

“I’m sure if you ask them as well it’s all about the team, that team mentality is what we’re trying to create here and the boys just keep producing.” Jackson said.

⚔️ On the Premiers race with WPX & the A-League competition

The Premiers Plate race was taken right to the final day, a two-horse race for the final weeks of the season with Wellington Phoenix. Jackson has expressed before his appreciation of the job that Giancarlo Italiano is doing in Wellington and reinforced that after lifting the plate.

“They’ve been sitting top of the league for a long time so all credit to them. They’ve got a new manager in there as well and he’s done an extremely good job. When they came to our place it was a terrific game of football, really close and it was 0-0 at their place.” Jacko said.

“Every time we’ve asked them a question, they’ve answered a question. Every time they’ve asked us a question, we’ve answered it. We’ve gone toe-to-toe so congratulations to them also for the position they’ve finished, they’ve had a terrific season and I’m sure they’ll be ready to go in finals as well.”

“Every team we’ve played against this year has given us a challenge, I’ve said this before and it’s credit to the A-League. People don’t give it enough credit, it’s got some fantastic players and coaches as well, who pose challenges to each other week in, week out and that’s a credit to the league.”

🏆 On treble ambitions “We’ll leave it all out there”

“We said to the player a while back that opportunities to win trophies don’t often come round in professional football. To be in a position where we can win the treble might never come round again. We’re going to do everything we can to take that opportunity, we will leave it all out there.” Jacko said.

“If we fall at the next hurdle, we’ll do it by trying to play our way.”

You can watch Jacko’s full press conference here.