Clark and Kwasnik set for 100 club
Veteran Central Coast Mariners defender Andrew Clark, and striker Adam Kwasnik, will become the fourth and fifth players to notch 100 competitive matches for the Yellow and Navy, should they feature at some point during the club’s must-win Hyundai A-League Round 24 clash with Gold Coast United at Bluetongue Stadium on Friday.
Veteran Central Coast Mariners defender Andrew Clark, and striker Adam Kwasnik, will become the fourth and fifth players to notch 100 competitive matches for the Yellow and Navy, should they feature at some point during the club-s must-win Hyundai A-League Round 24 clash with Gold Coast United at Bluetongue Stadium on Friday.
Clark, a Mountains District (Formerly PMK) junior, was of the first players signed by Lawrie McKinna ahead of the Mariners tilt at the maiden season of the Hyundai A-League back in 2005, and is as ingrained in the club-s history as much as anyone, not just for his on field contributions, but the local junior has also doubled as the side-s strength and conditioning coach since inception.
"You don-t set these sort of milestones or play for that reason but if they come along it-s really nice," said Clark.
You just aim to front up every day, do the best job you can and these things come along the way, so its great to be here.
"There-s been a couple of great moments and they-ve always been centred around Bluetongue. I-ve been there when we-ve pretty much filled the stadium in big games, the final against Newcastle when we came back from 2-nil down.
"It-s just brilliant when you walk out there and it-s almost full, and dominated by yellow and blue."
While Clark was part of the first ever Central Coast starting eleven, in an enthralling penalty shootout victory over Newcastle Jets in the opening game of qualifying for the 2005 Club World Championships, Kwasnik would have to wait a little longer to make his Mariners bow, coming on as a substitute in the 3-1 win over Brisbane, to kick off the Pre-Season Cup of the same year.
Kwasnik-s milestone could have been reached even earlier, if not for a season spent with Wellington Phoenix in 2008/09.
"It-s a great honour. I love the club, and to be honest I shouldn-t have left, but I did, and I-m happy to be back. It-s great to play with this bunch of boys, and to bring up the 100, it-s a great honour.
"There-s a lot of unfinished business. There-s still that desired Grand Final win, and at the moment we-re a long way from that but hopefully in years to come we can achieve it as a team, and as a club," said Kwasnik.
The pair, both good friends off the field, have paid tribute to each other on the eve of their potential joint milestone.
"If it wasn-t for Clarky my fitness levels would be right down in the dumps, and credit to him as well, he-s into his 30-s but he-s playing like a 21 year old. He-s a super fit guy, a super player, and a great mate as well," said Kwasnik.
"I-ve played with Kwas for a long time now, I suppose to play 100 games for a single club is a good thing, and I hope there is more to come," Clark said.
While the pair will enjoy the occasion should they take part in Friday-s clash, of more importance is the result, Clark admitting three points is crucial against Gold Coast United, to ensure the club remains a contender for a fourth playoffs appearance in five seasons.
"We definitely need to win two, maybe three games to make the finals. There-s still a massive chance to make the finals, so all we need to worry about is this Friday, and the rest will happen," said Clark.
But Kwasnik is only too aware of the danger Smeltz, Culina and co. possesses.
"They-re in pretty hot form at the moment but we-ve just got to worry about ourselves. As a club we like it when our backs are up against the wall and we-re going to go out there and give it our best shot, regardless of what anyone says.
"We-re just going to enjoy it, these are the types of games you want to be a part of, and hopefully we can get the three points in front of our home crowd," Kwasnik said.
The Mariners- next home match of the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season will be against Gold Coast United on Friday, 22 January. Kick-off is at 8:00pm. Tickets are available online here or by phoning 132 849.