National Premier Leagues action returns this weekend for the Central Coast Mariners as our Men’s and Women’s sides both suit up for their first NPL2 matches since the postponement of the season.
After a win and draw in their matches prior to the break Nick Montgomery’s side must now start anew for this small segment of matches, and now joined in NPL2 by the Newcastle Jets with the Western Sydney Wanderers given a boost up into NPL1.
That is something that Montgomery has taken motivation from, and admitted frustration at the decision less than a week out from matches.
“The Mariners, Western Sydney Wanderers and the Jets should all have been given equal opportunity to put themselves in front of national team selectors,” he said.
“So I totally disagree with what has happened, it’s unjust, and I for one don’t understand how the decision has been made by Football NSW and FFA.”
I’ve read the articles that have come out, it’s really disappointing but we can’t control it, the players are disappointed, we’ve had to pick them and they know they should have the equal opportunity to play NPL1 in this 10-game season.”
Monty’s troops will need to put the disappointment behind them though and prove themselves on the pitch with a tough matchup against Blacktown Spartans.
The break was well spent for them, with plenty of strength work as well as regular check ins to ensure the team were coping with the ongoing pandemic.
“We put a routine in and gave them fitness programs and a strength program for the gym,” Monty said.
“They were doing body weight at home when the gyms were closed and we gave them as much as we could.”
“But also on the mental health side and with wellbeing we organised some calls with professionals in sport and some players to get the boys engaged and interacting.”
That clearly worked and the side have come back strong, with a number of players training with Alen Stajcic’s Hyundai A-League group as well during the preparation period.
Hear more from Monty when he joins us on MarinersTV tomorrow afternoon, as part of the pre-game coverage for the Hyundai A-League clash between the Mariners and Perth.
NPL2 Men’s Fixtures | Saturday, July 18th
Blacktown Football Park
1st Grade: Blacktown Spartans v Central Coast Mariners | Saturday, 18th July @ 7pm
U/20’s: Blacktown Spartans v Central Coast Mariners | Saturday, 18th July @ 5pm
Dan Barrett’s NPL Women’s side got off to an absolute flyer in the original version of the season, with a 6-1 win over SD Raiders in Round 1 followed up by an 11-0 thumping of Western NSW FC in Round 2 as they made their intentions clear.
But they now start fresh in a truncated season, and will shape up against Nepean who Barrett describes as their ‘bogey’ side.
“It is basically round one all over again,” he said.
“Unfortunately for us we were flying [before the break], but Nepean haven’t changed, they’re the same side they have been the last two years, they’re very much our bogey side.”
“And they know that, we’ve found it very difficult to get a result against them, home and away, doesn’t matter where they are on the table, they just have the wood on us so it’s an interesting challenge to have straight away.”
Barrett, who spent much of the break reflecting on his own time at the club and plotting for the future, was stoked with the way his team returned to training and the way they can approach the restart.
“We had an Academy program that went out, but most of it was injury prevention more than anything and making sure they stayed on top of their conditioning, and they’ve obviously been doing it,” he said.
“We’ve had check ins with them through the break of course, but they’ve come back in and they look really good, it was a nice surprise because they’re not professional players, they’re just young girls and girls who work and go to school who have come back here in great condition.”
NPL2 Women’s Fixtures | Sunday, July 19th
1st Grade: Central Coast Mariners v Nepean FC | 3pm
Reserves: Central Coast Mariners v Nepean FC | 1:05pm
U/17’s: Central Coast Mariners v Nepean FC | 11:25am
U/15’s: Central Coast Mariners v Nepean FC | 9:55am
U/14’s: Central Coast Mariners v Nepean FC | 8:30am