It may have been more than two seasons since Central Coast Mariners striker Nik Mrdja played the full 90 minutes in yellow and navy, but after playing a major role in the side’s 2-1 victory over his former club Perth Glory on Friday, the 30-year-old believes he’s getting close to a return to his best.
It may have been more than two seasons since Central Coast Mariners striker Nik Mrdja played the full 90 minutes in yellow and navy, but after playing a major role in the side-s 2-1 victory over his former club Perth Glory on Friday, the 30-year-old believes he-s getting close to a return to his best.
“It-s been a long road, but I-m definitely trying to slowly improve and, hopefully I-m getting more into it every game,” said Mrdja.
It-s been a long time, I actually can-t remember the last time I played 90 minutes, but when the time is right I-m sure Lawrie will play me as long as he can.
“I might have high expectations of myself and at the end of the day the team won, and my performances will be the best I-m able to put in every week. If I can contribute slightly more every week it will be a bonus for the team.”
Mrdja has had a frustrating run of serious knee injuries, which have restricted him to bit part roles throughout the last two campaigns, but with full fitness, and a positive outlook, the signs are that maybe the former Glory talisman has finally left those troubles behind him.
“At the moment everything is going well, the knee, touch wood, is just about the best it has ever been so now it-s just about strengthening.
“Slowly as my leg gets stronger I-ll start to feel better and better on the field,” said Mrdja.
Mrdja will be hoping Friday-s performance will be the first of many strung together this season, starting this Friday against an Adelaide side languishing in ninth spot, with just one win through their opening five matches.
“I think they are probably the most vulnerable that they have been in a while, so this is a good chance for us to go there and steal the win and come home with three points, which would put us up in the top mix.
“At the same time we have to makes sure we don-t go there and cop any goals, work hard, work on our shape and I-m sure we-ll come through with the result,” said Mrdja.
Clashes between the two sides have often proven to be memorable affairs, most notably a 1-nil Preliminary Final win to the Mariners, to book a spot in the first ever Hyundai A-League grand final, and an unforgettable 3-all draw last season, when Mile Jedinak scored a second half double, and Matt Simon added the third, after the Central Coast found themselves 3-nil down after 50 minutes.
“To come back with a 3-all draw there was unbelievable, but at the same time, to cop three goals, it-s in a way not good enough, so hopefully we go there with our heads screwed on and make sure we get it right,” said Mrdja.
The Mariners next home match of the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season will be against Gold Coast United on Saturday, 19 September. Kick-off is at 7:30pm. Tickets for this match are available online here or by phoning 132 849.
Mariners Memberships for the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season are now available online by clicking here or by phoning 1300 767 442.