Bojic, Mariners ready for round 1

CENTRAL Coast Mariners defender Pedj Bojic had a statistically superb season for the yellow and navy last term and is determined to commence the new campaign on a high against Western Sydney Wanderers tomorrow evening.

CENTRAL Coast Mariners defender Pedj Bojic had a statistically superb season for the yellow and navy last term and is determined to commence the new campaign on a high against Western Sydney Wanderers tomorrow evening.

The 28-year-old right back plays a crucial role in Graham Arnold-s defensive structure, with the numbers stemming from last season underpinning Bojic-s importance to the team unit.

Indeed, Bojic completed the most crosses and made the most effective tackles for the Mariners last season, as well as finishing second highest in the squad for both goal assists and completed passes.

Prior to the Mariners final training session before the much-anticipated round 1 meeting with Tony Popovic-s team, Bojic said the team was ready to begin the new season.

“The boys are in great shape,” Bojic said. “We-re all looking forward to it as everyone would be for their first game of the season. It-s been a long pre-season and we-ve done what we-ve had to do to be ready for tomorrow-s game.”

As well as noting how well the Mariners new recruits had fitted in, Bojic said he was excited by the prospect of returning to Parramatta Stadium. As a teenager, Bojic made his professional debut at the boutique complex for Parramatta Power.

“It was my very first professional game when I was 18 years of age,” he said.

“I spent three years at Parramatta Stadium, and have a lot of good memories. I quite enjoyed playing at the Stadium, I think it is one of the better ones going around.”

“I-m really looking forward to going into the away change room, not the home one,” Bojic said.

Meanwhile, like Bojic Central Coast Head Coach Graham Arnold insisted his team is fully prepared for Hyundai A-League matchday 1.

“Everything is looking good, the players are all fit,” Arnold said. “We-ve got twenty players to choose from and I-ve got a few tough selections to make today. They have trained very well and like every team in the A-League, they-re itching to play some competitive games and play for points.”

This particular encounter provides some sideline rivalry as Arnold comes up against his former Qantas Socceroos and Sanfrecce Hiroshima colleague Popovic.

Moreover, Arnold was Head Coach of the Australian National Team when Popovic played his farewell game in the green and gold against Paraguay in September 2006.

“We-ve been having a bit of banter in texts but he-s reacted to the media yesterday, which is not like ‘Poppa-,” Arnold said.

“It-s interesting for him as well. Tony has come back from Crystal Palace where he had a fantastic job as assistant coach. I would have thought his future would have still been in England, but he-s taken the big punt to come home and coach in the A-League.

“He hasn-t had long to prepare the team, just 186 days to get the whole club together.

“It-s a massive job and from watching them on DVD, he has done a fantastic job to date,” Arnold concluded.

Central Coast Mariners squad: 1.Mathew Ryan (gk), 2.Daniel McBreen, 3.Joshua Rose, 4.Pedj Bojic, 5.Zac Anderson, 6.Patrick Zwaanswijk, 7.John Hutchinson (c), 8.Adriano Pellegrino, 9.Bernie Ibini, 10.Tomas Rogic, 11.Oliver Bozanic, 12.Troy Hearfield, 13.Brent Griffiths, 14.Michael McGlinchey, 15.Brad McDonald, 16.Trent Sainsbury, 18.Nick Montgomery, 19.Mitchell Duke, 20.Justin Pasfield (gk), 21.Mile Sterjovski *five to be omitted*

Ins: 5.Zac Anderson (Gold Coast United), 13.Brent Griffiths (Heidelberg United), 18.Nick Montgomery (Sheffield United), 21.Mile Sterjovski (Dalian Aerbin)

Outs: Alex Wilkinson (Jeonbuk Hyundai), Stuart Musialik, Brad Porter, Sam Gallagher (Melbourne Victory), John Sutton (Heart of Midlothian), Mustafa Amini (BVB Borussia Dortmund), Trent McClenahan (Sydney FC)

Unavailable: 17.Anthony Caceres (Elbow - 2 weeks), 22.James Oates (Ankle - 2 months), Adam Kwasnik (Illness - 1 week)

Western Sydney Wanderers FC squad: 1. Ante Covic (GK), 2. Shannon Cole, 3. Adam D-apuzzo, 4. Nikolai Topor-Stanley, 5. Michael Beauchamp, 6. Jerome Polenz, 7. Labinot Haliti, 8. Mateo Poljak, 9. Dino Kresinger, 10. Aaron Mooy, 11. Tarek Elrich, 12. Tahj Minniecon, 13. Joey Gibbs, 14. Kwabena Appiah-Kubi, 15. Reece Caira, 17. Youssouf Hersi, 18. Iacopo La Rocca, 19. Mark Bridge, 20. Jerrad Tyson (GK), 21. Shinji Ono *five to be omitted*

Ins: All

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: 23. Jason Trifiro (Ankle - 1 week)

Western Sydney Wanderers vs. Central Coast Mariners Saturday 6 October - Parramatta Stadium Kick-off: 7:45pm (AEDT) Coverage: Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports 1HD and Sky Sport 2. Hyundai A-League club radio broadcast partner is ABC Grandstand, local and FFA online. Game also broadcast live on Coast FM (96.3FM and Twitter: Join the match conversation on Twitter! The official match hashtag is #WSWvCCM