Phil Moss is about to enter his first full season as a Central Coast Mariners Head Coach, so getting his team in top condition mentally, physically, and tactically is of paramount importance.
Although relatively new to the Mariners top job, Moss has been around the traps long enough to know getting his squad into camp prior to a full professional season can have a huge impact on team performance and morale.
CCMariners.com.au sat down with Moss in Lismore mid-way through the team’s training camp in northern New South Wales to discuss the aims of the camp, how the squad is finding the region, plus the benefits he believes four of the Club’s Foxtel NYL players for season ten – Max Versi, Nick Petrillo, Adam Pearce, and Jake McGing – will get from being away with the first team squad.
CCMariners.com.au: Phil, the team has been in Lismore for three days now. How has the trip been so far?
Phil Moss (PM): Fantastic. We’ve really been very well received up here. The boys have straight away got into the community and integrated which is important on a trip like this – it’s not just about training, eating and sleeping, it’s about leaving a mark in Lismore and enhancing the Mariners’ reputation both as a football team and as a football club. Our brand is very important to us and the players are very aware of their responsibility in that regard. It’s been great – we have a fantastic hotel, there are great people here, and the hospitality has been unbelievable.
CCMariners.com.au: What does being in camp allow for the team, and what are the goals for the week?
PM: It gives us a chance to really nail the physically side and the tactical side, get infront of the video screen a lot more with individual players and small groups, as well as the whole team. At the end of the week we’ve got a very tough game, which is exactly what you want. No doubt we will go into the game with a little bit of fatigue because we’re pushing the boys pretty hard this week with a few double sessions. But that’s the time of the season that we’re in at the moment, pre-season, you have to be able to push through fatigue, push through pain to get performances and make sure that the brain can function under fatigue. But I can’t speak highly enough of the playing group, they’ve got a great attitude, they’re loving being away together and spending time on and off the field together, and we’ll cap it off with a game against probably the most high profile club of the off-season in Melbourne City after their takeover from Melbourne City.
CCMariners.com.au: We have four of our NYL boys here with us in camp. What benefits do you think they will take away from this experience?
PM: We’ve brought some NYL players with us to get some experience and show them what it is to be a Mariners first team player. They’ve all put their best foot forward so far. They’ve come from part-time football environments in the state league and they’re players that we believe have a big future at the club, otherwise we wouldn’t have signed them for the NYL squad – they certainly haven’t looked out of place among the first team players which is great. They get the chance to room with senior players, eat with them, train with them, and play some game time on Sunday all going well. So we think that will help fast track their development. We have to be careful with their training loads because they are just coming into the professional ranks, we’re fully aware of that. We have a fantastic culture at the Mariners, everyone knows that, but it’s about creating a youth team with the same culture and making sure they integrate with the first team players so they know what’s expected of them.
CCMariners.com.au: Sunday’s friendly is the first time the Mariners have come up against Melbourne City following their takeover by Manchester City. What are you expecting, and what are you looking for from your team?
PM: It’s going to be very interesting – there’s been a lot of media speculation about them over the off-season and also a massive cash injection and an injection of resources to the club because of the Manchester City takeover, and obviously that brings players like (Robert) Koren and (Damien) Duff into the picture. But I think the most important thing for us is to focus on ourselves. We’re not really doing much analysis of Melbourne City at this stage of the pre-season, it’s about making sure that we put into practice in a game situation what we’ve been working on on the training pitch. We’ve been doing a lot of tactics the last two weeks and making sure that our defensive structure is rock solid as always, but we’ve been working a lot more with the ball to make sure that we create opportunities and score goals – that’s what it’s about this season. I think in the past we’ve maybe relied a little bit too much on our defensive structure and not concentrated enough on the ball and that was certainly the case towards the back end of last season. This season I really want to be that team that dictates a game with the ball, but knows that when we don’t have it that we’re solid defensively. They’re things that I’ll be looking for in the game against Melbourne City on Sunday.
CCMariners.com.au: Some locals are predicting a crowd of over 5,000 fans at Oakes Oval for Sunday’s game. What are your thoughts on that?
PM: It should create a great atmosphere. It’s a beautiful ground steeped in history, and obviously there are some great sporting families from this area with the Gilchrists in cricket and the Fosters in football. We pay respect to that because it’s important that wherever you go around the country to spread the A-League gospel that you also respect what’s been in the towns that you visit beforehand. They’re two great sporting families in Australian sport and hopefully there’s a great crowd, a great atmosphere, and we can put on a real spectacle on Sunday. It’s early days in our preparation match wise, but I’m certainly expecting a performance with quality.
Central Coast Mariners vs. Melbourne City
Sunday 7 September 2014
Oakes Oval, Lismore
Tickets: Visit www.visitlismore.com.au to purchase match tickets
Live stream: Log on to www.CCMariners.com.au from 2:30pm Sunday to watch the game online