Morale high, expectations focused
Nick Montgomery and the Central Coast Mariners were forced into a COVID-19 week long shut-down following numerous positive cases within the team and staff.
As a small club that often considers itself a family, when one person picked it up, you knew it wouldn’t be long before others did too. It was the manner in which the cases hit the club that hurt most.
Christmas Day, when the plan was for a short session then a return home to families, that however was all thrown into disarray when at least six players returned positive Rapid Antigen Tests and everyone was sent home before further transmission occurred.
Soon more cases popped up and with thin resources stretched thinner still, in the interest of health and safety, training was shut down for a week.
“We did the right thing to protect the squad and the general public. For the boys, it was frustration at the inability to play games when they were forced into isolation, some with no symptoms” said Head Coach Nick Montgomery who contracted the virus himself.
“I had it myself. It knocked me down for a few days and ended up with a head cold, but I’ve recovered now, and we now look ahead to the game this weekend against the Jets.”
During testing times, the big thing that you can sometimes lose is the morale to continue to play week in week out, however this group of Mariners players are made of stern stuff and despite being in great form before the forced break, come back into training with the same mentality.
“The morale’s been good coming off the back of good wins in the A-League and FFA Cup.
“We jumped on Zoom a couple of times and had a bit of fun with the boys. It kept them engaged, and we did what we had to do, and that was keep everyone going,” said Montgomery.
Following on from this shut-down, the boys have mostly all returned to training.
“The boys have been really good. Obviously COVID hits everybody differently and some took a few more days than others to get up to speed, but we managed this, followed the protocols and have worked hard to get back up to match fitness” Montgomery added.
After what has been three weeks without football, the Mariners come into this contest with excitement about a rivalry that is always so difficult to call.
“It’s a big rivalry, we had a good result up there and we know they’ll be coming down for revenge but for both teams it’s been a few weeks since playing a match, so everyone is itching to get back and we hope the fans can come out and support us during this difficult time and get behind us.”
While the Mariners await their FFA Cup semi-final opponents, their attention will be firmly fixed on the F3 Derby against the Jets.
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