Mariners aim to extend Capital dominance

The Central Coast Mariners head to the nation’s capital this weekend, aiming to continue their perfect record at Canberra Stadium, and reignite their stop-start Hyundai A-League campaign with victory over Adelaide United.

The Central Coast Mariners head to the nation-s capital this weekend, aiming to continue their perfect record at Canberra Stadium, and reignite their stop-start Hyundai A-League campaign with victory over Adelaide United.

The Mariners have so far proven unbeaten in two Pre-Season Cup matches and one Hyundai A-League appearance at the stadium, and are aiming to bounce back from a 2-1 loss to local rivals Newcastle Jets last Friday.

Similarly, Adelaide are also reeling from a loss to their fiercest enemy, going down 3-1 to Melbourne Victory, and Mariners Football Manager Lawrie McKinna is wary of a side desperate to return to the winners circle.

“You could see the intensity that Adelaide picked up in the second half, they believed they could get something back against Melbourne but credit to Melbourne they got them on the break and sealed the game.

“We-re disappointed with our result, we had enough of the ball to at least get a draw, and Adelaide beat us 1-nil last time down there where we didn-t play that well, so they-re always a hard game for us but we think we have the team that can go and get the three points in Canberra,” said McKinna.

In an unbelievably congested Hyundai A-League ladder, just ten points separate league leader Sydney FC and last placed North Queensland Fury.

The Mariners sit six points off the summit and know a win on Saturday is vital to ensuring they remain within reach of the leaders.

“We keep going on about winning two or three games in a row, it-s so important to anybody, and Adelaide-s in the same boat. If we win we-re back up there.

“We still have another two games away from home after this until we-re back at Bluetongue so it-s important we scrap things out away from home. We started that in Brisbane and now its important we get something at our home away from home.

“The bottom teams all won, so it-s about getting that consistency which everybody wants, and we-re striving to get that. We-ve got a reasonably settled team, the full squad is training, so we-re on the right track,” said McKinna.

The style McKinna-s side has been displaying throughout the current campaign has also begun to turn the heads of critics, as a steely defensive resolve has left the side with the most miserly back-four in the league, having conceded just eight goals so far, ensuring too, the second best goal-difference.

“All of a sudden people are saying “the Mariners are starting to play football”, but we-ve been playing (good) football for the four or five seasons, but sometimes at the weekend we might have played too much football so there-s a fine balance.

“We think we can compete physically and we can compete in the goalscoring charts. Matty Simon getting fitter and fitter, (Adam) Kwasnik scored his first goal at the weekend with a great finish so we-ve got a bit of confidence there,” McKinna said.

Nik Mrdja has also been drafted into a 17-man squad for the trip to the Capital, after scoring a hat-trick in last week-s 6-nil National Youth League demolition of Newcastle, and will fight it out for a place in a fiercely competitive forward line.

The club has announced plenty of activities off the field too, including Halloween giveaways for the Round 13, 31 October fixture, while the Mariners- Westfield W-League side takes on Canberra United at 4:15pm.

“Ticket sales are going alright, up on the last game, so hopefully we can get 6, 7 or 8-thousand there. I know the 5-thousand people who came last time enjoyed the game between two teams having a go at each other with a few twists and turns in the last few minutes, and I-m sure they-ll all come back.

“There might be talk of boycotts but that-s not going to do the Canberra bid any good at all, so get out and support your other local team, which is us.

“Hopefully we get a lot of Mariners- Members going down as well, I-ve seen them coming into the office all week picking up tickets so we-re looking forward to giving them a good result on Saturday night,” said McKinna.

The Central Coast Mariners take on Adelaide United next Saturday, 31 October at Canberra Stadium, as part of a double header, which also sees the Mariners Westfield W-League side clash with Canberra United. Kick-off in the Westfield W-League game is at 4:15pm, while the Hyundai A-League sides do battle at 7:00pm. Tickets are available online here or by phoning 132 849.

Mariners Memberships for the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season are now on sale by clicking here

*Head-to-Head: Played 14: Central Coast Mariners wins 5, Adelaide United wins 6 (3 draws)

Central Coast Mariners: 1. Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 2. Matthew CROWELL, 4. Pedj BOJIC, 5. Brad PORTER, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 8. Dean HEFFERNAN, 9. Nick MRDJA, 11. Dylan MACALLISTER, 14. Michael McGLINCHEY, 15. Andrew CLARK, 16. Nigel BOOGAARD, 17. Chris DOIG, 18. Alex WILKINSON (c), 19. Matt SIMON, 20. Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 22. Nicky TRAVIS, 23. Adam KWASNIK.
*two to be omitted*

In: Nik MRDJA (promoted), Andrew CLARK (promoted)

Out: Nil

Unavailable: Shane HUKE (suspended – 1 week)

Adelaide United squad: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk), 2.Robert CORNTHWAITE, 3.ALEMAO, 4.Iain FYFE, 5.Daniel MULLEN, 6.CASSIO, 7.Lucas PANTELIS, 8.Kristian SARKIES, 9.CRISTIANO, 10.Adam HUGHES, 11.Lloyd OWUSU, 13.Travis DODD (c), 14.Scott JAMIESON, 16.Inseob SHIN, 18. Fabian BARBIERO, 19.Mathew LECKIE, 20.Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk), 21.Mark RUDAN
*three to be omitted*

In: Fabian BARBIERO (returns from suspension), Daniel MULLEN (promoted), Inseob SHIN (promoted)

Out: Nil

Unavailable: Michael MARRONE (knee – 1 week), Paul REID (calf – 2 weeks), Joe COSTA (knee – long term injury list)

Referee: Ben Williams