On Wednesday evening, the Yellow and Navy pulled off a miraculous 2-2 draw away from home despite being down to 10 men for a large portion of the second half, and in fighting back, kept their finals hopes alive.
Following a gutsy performance away from home against the Wanderers with goals from Béni Nkololo’s and Dan Hall, the Mariners now turn their attention to a trip across the ditch to face New Zealand.
For the first time in over two years, the Central Coast Mariners will travel across the ditch to face Wellington Phoenix in New Zealand for their homecoming game after a long and exhausting stay in Australia due to COVID-19 border restrictions.
In the last meeting between these two sides, Nick Montgomery’s men were far too strong and powerful for the injury ravaged Phoenix who were missing numerous players as the Mariners ran out 5-0 winners in their biggest home win in nine years. Phoenix will be hungry for revenge, while the Mariners will be looking to upset the home-coming party.
Speaking to media prior to this clash, Nick Montgomery was happy that football returned to Wellington but was focussed on the task at hand.
“We’re the only opposition team coming to Wellington so it’s going to be a good experience for the boys. It’s going to be good atmosphere and a good game for everybody.”
Lewis Miller misses this one through suspension and Montgomery was pleased with Roux’s performance during the week.
“I’m still disappointed with Lewis’ red card but it is what it is. I thought Stormy [Roux] when he came on on Wednesday night was very, very good. He’s full of experience and he’ll be back in the country and stadium where he used to represent his national side so he will slot in, in place of Lewis.”
Jacob Farrell also spoke to the media ahead of the clash and was excited for his first overseas trip to play football.
“it’s my first time overseas playing football and so far it’s been a great experience but hopefully we can continue that into Sunday’s game.
I’ve loved every single game that I’ve played this year and the boys have helped me a lot and I’m excited to keep going.”
Farrell formed a good partnership and has cemented his position at left back at the club and puts his success down to his team-mates too.
“With Noah we were room-mates so we got on well and that carried onto the pitch and with Rowlsey [Kye Rowles] he is a good leader and easy to play with so they definitely help me with their playing style but mostly it is just getting to know the boys off the pitch that helps the most.”
However, the Mariners will be looking to spoil the party on Saturday afternoon and return home with three crucial points in the hunt for Finals Football.
So, after 21 games of A-League Men’s Football who are our key players to watch out for on Saturday?
Daniel Hall, (Central Coast Mariners)
After a breakout season in 2020/21, Daniel Hall has been an outstanding defender so far this season for the Central Coast Mariners.
Despite having missed a few games this season through injury on starting on the bench, the 22-year-old has been a rock at the back for the Yellow and Navy and more recently has provided goals when needed for the Mariners.
The 22-year-old currently averages 1.2 interceptions per game alongside an impressive total of 3.5 clearances and 1.5 tackles made per 90 minutes for the Yellow and Navy.
The central defender is also a deadly passer too, boasting one of the best passing stats in the league with 46.3 accurate passes per match.
Gael Sandoval (Wellington Phoenix)
Lots of questions were raised around what Gael Sandoval could offer the attacking-striken side of Ufuk Talay when he joined on loan in January. But since making the move from Mazatlán FC in Mexcio, the 26-year-old has been in impeccable form.
Scoring on debut with a trademark finish against Western United, the Mexican put the rest of the league on notice from the moment he stepped foot on a football pitch in Australia.
Now 15 games into his career with the Phoenix, the creative attacking midfielder has five goals and four assists so far this season. But, despite his recent claim to star-form in past games for the Phoenix, the 26-year-old has missed one key chance so far this season and only has a shot-to-goal conversion ratio of 17%.
The Mariners will need to keep him quiet if they want anything out of this game.
Wellington Phoenix v Central Coast Mariners is set for 3:05PM AEST kick off from Sky Stadium in Wellington.
Wellington Phoenix v Central Coast Mariners
Isuzu UTE A-League Men’s MW24
Sunday 17th April 2022
Sky Stadium, Wellington, New Zealand
Kick Off: 1:05pm AEST (3:05pm NZST)
Broadcast Live on Paramount+
Tickets: Click Here