The Central Coast Mariners had plenty of cause for celebration after a stellar 4-1 win away from home against the Wellington Phoenix on Saturday, and the return of exciting attacker, Blake Powell was one of them.
After an extended absence due to injury, Powell is excited to be back on the pitch for the Yellow and Navy, and returned in style against his former club – contributing with an assist in New Zealand.
Powell hadn’t featured in the Hyundai A-League since January 28 and said there was only one feeling running through his body when he was waiting to be injected against the Phoenix.
“I wasn’t nervous one bit; most people would be nervous after so long out but I was just so excited to get back on the pitch,” Powell said. “Feeling that grass underneath your feet, the crowd around you, it’s a good feeling,” he said.
The striker finished last season prematurely, but has since been working hard on his recovery after micro-fracture surgery on his left leg and popliteal decompressions in both legs.
“It’s been a long wait to get back into the team,” Powell said. “I’ve been fighting hard, training hard and I was just happy to get some game time, especially coming on 3-0 in front, it takes a bit of pressure off me but it’s good to back on the team,” Powell said.
Powell’s return to the Hyundai A-League helps bolster Paul Okon’s attacking stocks with the Sydney-born-attacker doing everything in his power to break back into the starting 11.
Powell subbed on in the second half and provided an assist for Trent Buhagiar’s stoppage time goal, which proved the final nail in the coffin for Wellington on Saturday evening.
“It’s been a while since I have been on a pitch, I’m a little bit rusty, but I was happy to have a hand in the last goal,” Powell said.
A return to form for the striker is an exciting prospect for the Central Coast. Powell claimed the Phoenix Golden Boot during the 2015/16 season, scoring four in one game against the Wanderers, including a ‘perfect hat-trick’: one with the left foot, one with the right, and one with the head.
Despite a dominant win over Wellington, Powell is adamant that the Mariners won’t rest on their laurels. They are instead, staying firmly focused on their upcoming game against Perth Glory at home on Sunday, with an aim to go back-to-back.
“It was excellent, especially over in Wellington, it’s a tough place to go and get three points over there, and to win 4-1 it’s a good feeling.” Powell said. “All the boys are so excited after it, but it’s Tuesday now. We’ve put that behind us and it’s on to Sunday’s game against Perth so we’re looking forward to that one.
“It’s a big game, obviously we know they have a few players that are injured at the moment, but we’re not going to take them lightly at all,” Powell said.
“They’re a tough team, no matter who’ve they’ve got in there, so we’re looking forward to getting out there and taking some of that confidence that we’ve built up from last week, and hopefully get another result back at home.
“That’s one of the big things that we didn’t have last season: consistency. And this year, we really want to start building on our wins, two in a row, three in a row and keep building on it,” Powell said.
NEW Match Details
Sunday, 3 December 2017
Hyundai A-League Round 9
Match: Central Coast Mariners vs. Perth Glory
Venue: Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
Kick-off: 5:00pm (AEDT)
Tickets: CLICK HERE
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS AUSTRALIA
Hash-tag: Join the match conversation using #CCMvPER & #CCMFC