I’VE often used this column to appeal to the Central Coast community to come out in force to support your Mariners.
I-VE often used this column to appeal to the Central Coast community to come out in force to support your Mariners.
I make no apologies for that and here I go again!
The Western Sydney Wanderers have issued the challenge all season to supporters of every other A-League club and when that challenge hit Gosford a few rounds before the end of the regular season, the Yellow and Navy responded in magnificent fashion.
Unfortunately the result didn-t go our way on the night but that is history and we are now in a different competition – a finals series – that starts for us on Sunday at Bluetongue Stadium against Melbourne Victory.
The turnout that night and the energy coming from the grandstands was a massive boost for our players and played no small part in a fantastic performance that ultimately went unrewarded.
This weekend it-s time to stand and deliver once again – both for our players and our supporters!
Ange Postecoglou and his team are on the way to the Coast and will bring with them a healthy band of traveling supporters.
Central Coast – your team needs you!
The equation is simple. It-s elimination football at it-s best and for the winner a grand final appearance awaits the following Sunday (April 21).
Our 12th man will be a crucial addition to the 11 players who take the field in a Mariners jersey on Sunday.
We head into the match in great form and with plenty of confidence following two outstanding performances against Chinese outfit Guizhou Renhe in the Asian Champions League – two games which provided an acid test that our entire squad passed with flying colours.
We returned home from China yesterday to re-unite with the seven players we left behind to keep fresh for Sunday-s assignment and everyone is in great shape.
Head Coach Graham Arnold will bed down the game plan at training this morning and tomorrow and the players will run out on to Bluetongue on Sunday knowing that the key is to remain tactically disciplined and stick to our defensive structure.
Kick-off is 5pm.
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THERE have been some proud moments during the last three years at the Mariners but none more so than Tuesday night at Guiyang Olympic Sports Centre against rich Chinese Super League outfit Guizhou Renhe.
The result may have gone against us in the end with a late, late show from the hosts during ACL Match Day 4 but the performance from a Mariners side with an average age of just 23 was nothing short of phenomenal.
Not only were we 1-0 ahead with just seven minutes remaining but we had outplayed a side with a seemingly unlimited budget who were also playing for a $US50k bonus per player on the night, at home, in front of 20,000 of their supporters.
Take into account that they returned home from playing us at Bluetongue Stadium last Friday and we only arrived in China 36 hours before kick-off and the fact it was a heavy pitch following a day of rain leading up to kick-off and you start to appreciate the level of intensity, tactical discipline and quality from our boys.
The likes of Hayden Morton, Brent Griffiths, Anthony Caceres and Adriano Pellegrino have had limited game time this season but handled a grueling 90 minutes superbly.
The experience and confidence our players will take out of a game like that is worth much, much more to us than any salary – and/or bonus – the Guizhou players may have banked this week.
It was international club football at its best and showed the Asian Champions League is alive and kicking despite those who believe there is a lack of interest in it.
The atmosphere inside the stadium was fantastic and while they may have been considerably outnumbered, the effort made by a 20-strong traveling contingent of Mariners supporters – who we had the pleasure of meeting at the team hotel the night before the game – to be there on the night was greatly appreciated by the players and coaching staff.
Central Coast Mariners vs. Melbourne Victory – 2012/13 Hyundai A-League Semi-Final
Sunday 14 April, 2013
Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford
Kick-off: 5:00pm (AEDT)
Tickets: Please CLICK HERE to purchase tickets to the match!
Twitter: Join the match conversation on Twitter! The official match hash tag is #CCMvMV. Use #ALeagueFinals and #GoMariners throughout the Finals Series!