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The Central Coast Mariners Academy Men and Women both kick off their 2020 NPL2 campaigns with away fixtures this weekend. The men will make the trip to Christie Park to take on the NWS Spirit FC on Saturday March 7, whilst the women will travel to SD Raiders FC’s home ground Ernie Smith Reserve for their season opener on Sunday March 8.
NPL 2 Men’s |
The Academy boys come into the NPL2 fresh from a successful season in the Foxtel Y-League, where they came second in Group B to eventual competition champions Sydney FC.
Head Coach Nick Montgomery will continue to push his squad to not only contend in the NPL2, but use the competition to help them develop into potential A-League recruits for the Central Coast Mariners.
“Moving into NPL, it’s young boys playing against seasoned pros and semi-pro players, it’s not easy, it’s physical, but that’s where they really have to step up.” Montgomery said.
“It’s about pushing the best young kids through, giving them experience against men in a semi-professional league and hoping they adapt and can progress and come into the A-League squad,” he said.
“At the minute, they’ve all got potential, which is what I’ve told them, but it’s up to them how far they take it.” Montgomery said.
The strong squad will be hoping to maintain the impressive record they have against NWS Spirit – the Mariners have taken six wins, a draw and just one loss in the two teams’ last eight clashes.
Round 1 |
NSW Spirit v Central Coast Mariners
Saturday, 7th March | 7pm kick-off
GK: Zenden Hart, Luca Magetto,
DEF: Dan Hall, Matt Hatch, Kyle Johnson, Jack McLoughlin, Sasha Kuzevski, Cameron Windust, Darcy Coleman
MID: Bilal Belkadi, Brad Tapp, Harry Steele, mAX balard and James Bayliss
ATT: Jordan Smylie, Michael Katsoulis, Damian Tsekenis, Harry McCarthy, Ruben Awaritifee, Louis Khoury, Alou Kuol
NPL2 Women’s |
After finishing fifth in last year’s competition, the Mariners Academy Women head into the NPL2 hungry for more success after a positive pre-season campaign.
Dan Barrett returns for his third stint as Head Coach for the squad, and is maintaining a clear focus on player development as they head into the new competition.
“Pre-season was a success. The objective was start round one not crossing our fingers but knowing exactly what works and what doesn’t.” Barrett said.
“Our philosophy has always been to take care of the development, and that will take care of the winning. This has seen a strong showing in our youth program, with all teams making finals the past two years.”
“We want the program to support our impending W-League team, and to develop our juniors to have an opportunity to play at W-League level and represent the Mariners,” he said.
This season’s squad is a balance of talented senior players as well as up-and-comers that have been nurtured through the Women’s Academy program.
Among their ranks is last season’s lead scorer Danielle Wise, former W-League defender Brooke Miller, and young star Iona Snape, who returns from training with the Western Sydney Wanderers.
They’ll be part of Barrett’s strategy to claim all three points from SD Raiders in what will be a tough opening match on Sunday.
“Raiders have always proved to be a difficult away trip for us.” Barrett said. “History has shown that.
“It’s no excuse however. New season, new group and new goals. I would be very disappointed not to come home with 3 points.” Barrett said.
Round 1 |
SD Raiders FC v Central Coast Mariners
Sunday, 8th March | 3pm kick-off
Ernie Smith Reserve
GK: Rhiannon Hines, Laure Schubert
DEF: Betsy Blackwood, Paris Blair, Kasey Boelhouwer, Kiah Carmody, Jordyn Drysdale, Jessica Garrett, Mia McFarlane, Brooke Miller, Kaitlin Murphy, Elizabeth Shorter, Alyssa Togo
MID: Keira Bainsfair, Gabrielle Blanch ©, Annalise Brewster, Nina Collins, Leisel Collins, Alishia dudman, Kate Duffy, Jade McAtamney, Lily McMahon, Kirby Squires, Iona Snape, Maddison Van Dijk
ATT: Indianna Auddino, Candice Phelan, Annalise Rasmussen, Mikala Tucker, Abbey Van Gemet, Danielle Wise