Confident Mariners set sights for the benchmark

Having taken four points from two tricky away trips in recent weeks, the Central Coast Mariners will return to their Bluetongue Stadium home on Saturday full of confidence and primed for the ultimate test against Hyundai A-League pacesetters the Melbourne Victory.

Having taken four points from two tricky away trips in recent weeks, the Central Coast Mariners will return to their Bluetongue Stadium home on Saturday full of confidence and primed for the ultimate test against Hyundai A-League pacesetters the Melbourne Victory.

With guest player Mark Bosnich in fine form and ace attacking pair Dylan Macallister and Nik Mrdja fit again and available for selection, the Mariners head into Saturday-s blockbuster at their picturesque bay side home eager to do battle with the benchmark team of season four.

The Mariners- treatment table is still dominated by a significant list of first team candidates that includes Ahmad Elrich, Andre Gumprecht, Dean Heffernan and Greg Owens in addition to the suspended Danny Vukovic.

However, the return of Macallister and Mrdja is a major positive when considering the form of the Mariners- strike force in recent times, with the yellow and navy slotting an impressive seven goals from the opening four rounds - the equal third best record in the Hyundai A-League.

At the other end of the park, the Mariners- backline last week celebrated the clubs first clean sheet of the new season, with the consistently improved showings of the Central Coast-s last line increasingly complementing the yellow and navy-s second-to-none attacking options.

"I think the confidence within our team is growing with every week, Melbourne are the benchmark, they-ve set the standard and if we can get a result against them at the weekend it will put us in good stead for the rest of the season," said Mariners Football Manager Lawrie McKinna.

"The boys are doing well but we can-t get complacent, there are always things that we can improve on and we-ll be well tested against Melbourne at the weekend."

Saturday-s match up between the Mariners and the Victory marks the twelfth meeting between the two clubs in all competitions.

Aside from the nine Hyundai A-League encounters between the two sides, the pair has met twice in the Pre-Season Cup, which has been the Mariners- greatest source of success against their southern counterparts.

Initially one of Melbourne-s bogey sides after defeating the Victory four times over their first five meetings and being the only Hyundai A-League side to beat the Victory by a two-goal margin throughout 2005/06, let alone on four separate occasions, the Mariners have defeated Melbourne just once over the past two seasons.

In total, the Mariners have posted five wins over the Victory, with Melbourne responding with four triumphs in addition to two draws.

Interestingly, the Victory-s record at Bluetongue Stadium is an impressive one - Melbourne emerging victorious on three occasions from five visits.

"Melbourne have started off well and had a great pre-season, they have a very settled team with most of their players available and it shows from their results so far," said McKinna.

"We-re going to be up against it this week but we-ve steadily got better every game and I think the performance at the weekend against Wellington was solid.

"Away form is important and we-ve been great away from home so far this season, but you have to win your home games, simple as that.

"If you win your home games and pick up the odd result away from home you-ll win the league and that-s what we have to do this season."

Hyundai A-League 2008/09, Round 5
Central Coast Mariners vs. Melbourne Victory
Bluetongue Stadium - Saturday, 20 September 2008, Kick off 7pm
4 Pedj Bojic
Position Defender
DOB 9 Apr, 1984
Height 180cm
Weight 75kg5 Bradley Porter
Position Midfielder
DOB 19 Feb, 1987
Height 179cm
Weight 74kg6 David D-Apuzzo
Position Defender
DOB 5 Sep, 1988
Height 180cm
Weight 77kg7 John Hutchinson
Position Midfielder
DOB 29 Dec, 1979
Height 179cm
Weight 78kg9 Nik Mrdja
Position Striker
DOB 30 Nov, 1978
Height 186cm
Weight 87kg10 Adrian Caceres
Position Midfielder
DOB 10 Jan, 1982
Height 178cm
Weight 84kg11 Dylan Macallister
Position Striker
DOB 17 May, 1982
Height 191cm
Weight 92kg13 Paul O-Grady
Position Defender
DOB 6 Nov, 1978
Height 193cm
Weight 92kg15 Andrew Clark
Position Defender
DOB 24 Aug, 1974
Height 180cm
Weight 74kg16 Nigel Boogaard
Position Defender
DOB 14 Aug, 1986
Height 188cm
Weight 88kg17 Matthew Osman
Position Midfielder
DOB 29 Jul, 1983
Height 183cm
Weight 75kg18 Alex Wilkinson
Position Defender
DOB 13 Aug, 1984
Height 187cm
Weight 85kg19 Matt Simon
Position Striker
DOB 22 Jan, 1986
Height 188cm
Weight 79kg22 Sasho Petrovski
Position Striker
DOB 5 Mar, 1975
Height 180cm
Weight 80kg23 Mile Jedinak
Position Midfielder
DOB 3 Aug, 1984
Height 189cm
Weight 88kg30 Andrew Redmayne
Position Goalkeeper
DOB 13 Jan, 1989
Height 194cm
Weight 84kg40 Mark Bosnich
Position Goalkeeper
DOB 13 Jan, 1972
Height 188cm
Weight 90kg

The Mariners return to their Bluetongue Stadium home on Saturday, 20 September, when they host the table topping Melbourne Victory in Round 5. Kick off is at 7pm.

Tickets for this match are now on sale from Ticketek outlets, from the Ticketek website - www.ticketek.com.au, or via phone on 132 849.

Mariners Memberships for the Hyundai A-League 2008/09 season are now on sale at www.ccmariners.com.au.