Mariners defender Jack Clisby is counting down the days to Saturday’s clash with Perth Glory, as the restart of the Hyundai A-League season rapidly approaches after almost a month of training since players returned.
The month has been a busy one, with a new broadcast deal agreed to, fixtures released and the three Victorian teams relocated to New South Wales, and with Monday’s announcement of fans in the stands Clisby said everyone at Mariners HQ is looking forward to the game.
“We are looking forward to seeing our fans at the game this weekend, and getting behind the boys for the last four games, it’s an exciting time,” he said.
“Live sport is back, live football is back, and for all the fans that love the game to come out and support us, we would love to have you there.”
“I can only imagine how keen they are to get back into the stands, as keen as we are to get back on the field. We can’t wait to have our fans back at the stadium, the last game playing without them it just seemed strange, it’s such a strange footballing world watching and playing games without crowds.”
“So the fact we’re allowed to have them back in at the capacity the government has set is just fantastic and we’re really looking forward to that on the weekend.”
While the three-month break of the league was an uncertain time for many, including the 28-year old Clisby, he told media on Tuesday that it also presented him the opportunity to spend more time with his family, including his daughter who will soon turn one.
“As things were happening I knew I probably wouldn’t be able to get back to Perth in moments like this, especially seeing as I have my little one now and settled with my wife on the Coast,” he said.
“So we decided to stay up here during the tough period, with everyone isolating, but I managed to spend a lot of time with my daughter, watching her grow up and even did some renovations on the house so I made good use of the time I think.”
The clash against Perth will be one of four remaining fixtures for Clisby in the Mariners, with home games against the Jets and Wanderers followed by a final fixture against Melbourne Victory to be played in Sydney.
The Mariners have beaten Perth and Melbourne this season, and battled well against the Jets and Wanderers and Clisby believes that form stands them in good stead when they meet their opponents in the season restart.
“We’ve got a couple of games left but we want to finish the season on a high and look to get off the bottom of the ladder, so for us the goal is to win the four games and we can definitely do that,” he said.
“We’ve won games against Perth and Melbourne so I think on our day, when we’re performing and if we bring to the game what we can do then we can get results and the boys really believe that.”
“You can see a hunger amongst the group since the boys returned to training.”
The Glory will be the first test of that hunger, but with the added bonus of a home crowd at an away game, the Mariners will be pushing for a strong result.
“Everyone knows they [Perth] are a great side, and they’re governed by a top quality coach in Tony Popovic, and they’ll make no excuses, they’ll come out and be looking to win their games,” he said.
“But the positive for us is that our games are up on the coast, we’re at home even know it’s classified as their home game, and especially with crowds able to attend, that is so great for us.”
Kick off on Saturday is at 5pm at Central Coast Stadium, and information on ticketing and attendance can be found here.