Ruon Tongyik believes he is feeling the best he ever has in his career, having played a big role in the backline during the Mariners strong start to the A-League season.
Tongyik has garnered praise for his partnership with Kye Rowles in the middle of the defence that has kept three clean sheets through seven games already, as well as his ball playing and physical presence.
Speaking on Wednesday ahead of a visit to Wollongong to take on the Phoenix, Tongyik said he is enjoying his football and that the feeling amongst the team is a good one at the moment.
“I think it’s the best I’ve ever felt throughout my career,” Tongyik said.
“I’m enjoying myself, obviously I’m in a good team with a good bunch of boys, and really I’m just happy to be here and I want to take it game by game.”
Our man @RTongyik is keen to see plenty of travelling support on Sunday when we take on the Phoenix in Wollongong. #CCMFC #WELvCCM #WontBackDown
Join us there ?? https://t.co/8ay7c3coQZ pic.twitter.com/CQVmHTUvtS
— Central Coast Mariners (@CCMariners) February 10, 2021
“The feeling is great; it has been great since pre-season. We have played a lot of good football, and our winning mentality and desire has been immense, there’s a great feeling about this season.”
The two teams met only recently, with the Phoenix prevailing 2-1 thanks to a late Jaushua Sotirio goal against the run of play, but the Mariners have since won twice, beating Melbourne City and Western United despite falling behind to both.
This weekend will kick off a month long run of games away from home, with games against the Phoenix, Adelaide United and Western Sydney Wanderers all locked in through February ahead of a return home on March 8th.
Tongyik rued the loss to Wellington, but said the team is prepared for them once again and said that the energy and desire of the team has shone through in the past two matches.
“I think it’s the depth we have in the squad, the experience of Ollie and Simmo, we’ve got a great mixture of young players as well, they bring a lot of energy into the game,” he said.
“It’s just our desire to win and our mentality going into a game and playing in the game, and especially with the fans backing us up as well it’s been great.”
“We’ve obviously played Wellington and it was quite unfortunate that we lost pretty late in the game.”
“We’re going to analyse them, we know they’re a great team. We have got to look at ourselves as well, ways we can break them down, we want to play our football, we know ways we can hurt them as well.”
Performances on the road have been strong this season, with wins against Macarthur and Sydney FC in the two matches away, but Tongyik said away games are certainly a different beast and he is hoping to see plenty of fans on the road on Sunday.
“They are never easy, the away games,” he said.
“But I think with the right mentality, knowing that we can beat any team on our day, we will go in with a great mindset, we will go there and try and beat the teams on their own turf and come back with three points.”
“I think it would be great to have the fans travel to Wollongong. With them being there to support us, they are our 12th man, it would be huge.
“The away game against Sydney we had a great bunch of crowd there, it’s just fantastic to see them growing game by game.”