NPL Previews: Mariners Academy on the road


This long weekend sees the Mariners Academy women’s and men’s teams travel away to face Southern Branch & Mounties Wanderers respectively. We caught up with Dan Barrett and Will Vazquez to preview the side’s fixtures.

Southern Branch Women vs. Central Coast Mariners Academy Women

Our in-form women’s team continued their hot-streak with an emphatic win over APIA Leichhardt Tigers thanks to a four-goal haul by Jordan Evans. The win also saw Candice Phelan add a 25th goal to her season tally which handed the Tigers their first home loss in three years.

It was the side’s seventh consecutive win who now sit in second spot on the NPL 2 ladder, four points behind Sydney Olympic.

On Saturday afternoon, the Mariners Women will be looking to keep their run alive against a team they defeated 10-0 in round three.

Barrett praised the attacking nature of his team whilst speaking positively about the young talent being developed at the Mariners Academy. 

“I was so pleased with how we dictated play both with and without the ball,” Barrett said. “We were so aggressive. We have played liked this for seven weeks now and each week we are more intense but to step up away from home in such a critical match was real test that I think demonstrated to everyone we are the real deal this season.

“We build pressure and that’s hard work, what is even more difficult is to convert the chances that come from that sustained pressure. This is what has been most pleasing. We are very prolific in and around the goal area.

“APIA and many others in our league have spent considerably to bolster their rosters in the last transfer window. We prefer to look from within. We are developing the types of players we need that fit our systems and will put our youngsters first, instead of looking elsewhere. This is what excites me the most at the moment. It’s the young players in our Academy that have the desire to be better and play for our first team.

“The process of identification never stops I must add, players show their hand at different times. We are steadily moving players around strategically in games and training almost individually giving them what they need so they can progress through our system. We have some good players in this Academy and credit must go to our seniors who embrace those new young talents and encourage and help them along the way.

“Iona Snape is a fine example of this but there are also a couple of more youngsters that, if I feel the time is right, you could see at the top end of our club in the Yellow and Navy. I can’t single anyone out, everyone did their job and that’s all a coach can ask. We must keep going,” Barrett said.

Match Details
Saturday, 9 June 2018
NPL 2 NSW Men’s Round 14
: Southern Branch Women vs. Central Coast Mariners Academy Women
Venue: South Nowra Football Complex
Kick-off: 3pm

Mounties Wanderers FC vs. Central Coast Mariners Academy

Last week saw the men’s first team suffer their first loss off the season but remain in top spot in the all-important Club Championship.

A crucial away trip to Mounties Wanderers on Sunday evening will allow the perfect opportunity to quickly get back to winning ways.

Winding back the clock to round two, the Mariners Academy hosted Mounties where they emerged as 1-0 winners thanks to a strike by Jordan Smylie who is currently sidelined with a stress fracture to his back, incurred in early April.

Will Vazquez says Sunday’s game against Mounties provides a chance for the young Mariners to bounce back immediately.

“Last weekend’s match was a real test as we expected,” Vazquez said. “Whilst we feel the group didn’t reach the same heights of performance we have experienced in the past few weeks, this was still a positive performance where on another day we could have gone in to half time with a lead and went on to win.

“However, that’s the reality of football, if you do not capitalise on these situations, eventually the opponent will make you pay and Rydalmere did this so full credit to them.

“This coming week against Mounties will be a great chance for the group to re-focus as there is no time to feel sorry for themselves. The group had a good opportunity to reflect on a personal and collective level throughout the week and we are very encouraged by the hunger and desire to achieve and continue to develop as a group and individuals. Mounties will be very difficult with some high-quality individuals, however as is the same each week, if we perform to our capacity as a collective group we are confident we will be able to achieve what we are aiming for,” Vazquez said.

Match Details
Sunday, 10 June 2018
NPL 2 NSW Men’s Round 14
: Mounties Wanderers FC vs. Central Coast Mariners Academy
Venue: Cook Park, Mt Pritchard
Kick-off: 7pm