Central Coast will continue a special association with Mudgee that stretches back a decade when they take on the Macarthur Bulls in what will be a high powered Isuzu UTE A-League match at Glen Willow Stadium on Saturday.
The Mariners will make the trip to the picturesque central west town for the third time and will be hoping to maintain their 100 per cent record in what is shaping as a must win game for the Yellow and Navy.
The club first made the trek back in 2014 when they took a mixture of youth and experience for a pre-season friendly against Newcastle Jets.
It wasn’t until 2021 that the Mariners were able to return, this time for a more important contest – an FFA Cup match against Blacktown City. They won that game and eventually made the final, only to go down to Melbourne Victory.
The Mariners have had a solid season so far, but have been devoid of luck. They are sitting just off the top six but their table position could have been much better.
A combination of last minute goals and controversial refereeing decisions have cost them dearly over the past six weeks.
However, they have shown a lot of fight, as shown in their 1-1 draw with competition heavyweights Melbourne Victory a couple of weeks ago.
The Mariners will be looking to bridge the gap to the top six against a Macarthur side that is pushing hard for top spot.
A large crowd is expected to turn out for this game and they will hopefully be treated to a wonderful, entertaining spectacle. The last time the two sides met they shared the spoils in a 3-3 thriller in which the Bulls managed to steal a point with a 90th minute goal.
Both sides are full of quality players.
Fans should look out for the likes of the Mariners quality attack of Costa Rican striker Marco Urena, his strike partner Jason Cummings and German attacker Nicolai Muller, who is in excellent goalscoring form.
The Mariners are superbly led in midfield by captain and former Socceroo Oliver Bozanic and the diminutive Josh Nisbet, who is the smallest player in the League but probably has the biggest heart.
Bozanic is regarded as one of the premier players in the League. He has exquisite vision, his passing is unerring and he can be dangerous from set pieces and in broken play through his powerful left foot shot.
Everyone at the Mariners is looking forward to returning to Mudgee and continuing what they believe will be a long and successful association.
Speaking back in February when the game was announced, Mariners CEO Shaun Mielekamp said: “It is so exciting for us to be able to return to Mudgee with a fully-fledged A-League match.
“Our previous visit last year for the FFA Cup was so welcoming and with the tremendous facilities, it was impossible for us to ignore returning as quickly as possible.
“We made a commitment to ensure that a trip to Glen Willow Stadium is not a one-off and we hope that everyone can see there is a real commitment by the Central Coast Mariners for a long-term association with the region, to play our part in helping football and all sports grow in Mudgee.”
Part of that commitment will see the club hold a clinic on Friday that has attracted huge interest.
Ticket prices for the game start from $35 for grandstand, $20 for adult general admission, $10 for children (over five years) general admission and $15 for concession general admission and you can grab them here.