Finals Series security the aim for Mariners

Today, the Central Coast Mariners will fly out for the Victorian capital primed for a showdown with fellow Finals Series aspirants the Melbourne Victory at the Telstra Dome on Friday, where three points and Finals Series security will be the primary aim for the visitors.

Today, the Central Coast Mariners will fly out for the Victorian capital primed for a showdown with fellow Finals Series aspirants the Melbourne Victory at the Telstra Dome on Friday, where three points and Finals Series security will be the primary aim for the visitors.

Perhaps in the hunt for back to back Hyundai A-League Premierships as recently as one week ago, the Mariners- quest to retain their most prized piece of Hyundai A-League silverware suffered a potentially fatal blow at the hands of the Queensland Roar at Bluetongue Stadium last Saturday.

With AFC Champions League finalists Adelaide United now completed their make up fixtures and with just a fortnight of regular season action remaining, the Mariners are nestled comfortably in fourth place, but still within touching distance of the fifth placed Wellington Phoenix and sixth placed Sydney FC, who could each overtake the Mariners with favourable results in the coming weeks.

From a yellow and navy perspective, three points against the Victory at the Telstra Dome - the only Hyundai A-League venue where the Mariners have not once recorded a win - would almost certainly secure the Mariners- involvement in their third Hyundai A-League Finals Series from four attempts.

Only the Mariners- New South Wales rivals the Newcastle Jets and Sydney FC have achieved a three-peat of Finals Series appearances since the inception of the Hyundai A-League and another shot at the Hyundai A-League Championship would indeed be a fillip for Lawrie McKinna-s charges, who have evidenced on many occasions that they are among the most consistent teams in Australian football.

"We-re not thinking about the Premiership or the Championship at this stage, the most important thing for us to focus on at this time is qualification for the Finals Series and we can virtually assure that with a win against Melbourne at the Telstra Dome," said Mariners Football Manager McKinna

"There were plenty of positives for us to take out of our loss to the Roar and we-ll be looking to take these into Friday-s game, where the atmosphere and sense of occasion at the Telstra Dome will be as good as any that we-ve experienced this season.

"We-re definitely good enough to play Finals Series football and there is enough talent within our playing group to make a play for some silverware in February, but we need to get there first and that starts with a positive result against Melbourne."

Friday-s match up between the Mariners and the Victory at the Telstra Dome marks the fourteenth meeting between the two clubs in all competitions.

Aside from eleven Hyundai A-League encounters, the two clubs have 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 five triumphs of their own in addition to three draws.

"With Adelaide-s result against Queensland last night, the Victory will know that they-re in with a real shout of claiming the Premiers Plate and will know that nothing less than three points will do for them on Friday night," said McKinna.

"We-ll need to match their hunger and, beyond that, the quality of their team, which has proven to be one of the best in the Hyundai A-League this year - especially at the Telstra Dome.

"I-m very confident, as our players are, that we have the ability to come away with three points and we-ve definitely shown in patches in recent weeks that we-re capable of beating any team in the Hyundai A-League.

"Against a side like Melbourne, only a complete ninety minute performance will see us come away from the Telstra Dome with the win that we-re after and that we need."

Hyundai A-League 2008/09, Round 20
Melbourne Victory vs. Central Coast Mariners
Telstra Dome - Friday, 15 January 2009, Kick off 8pm
2 Andre Gumprecht
Position Midfielder
DOB 26 Nov, 1974
Height 175cm
Weight 77kg4 Pedj Bojic
Position Defender
DOB 9 Apr, 1984
Height 180cm
Weight 75kg5 Bradley Porter
Position Midfielder
DOB 19 Feb, 1987
Height 179cm
Weight 74kg7 John Hutchinson
Position Midfielder
DOB 29 Dec, 1979
Height 179cm
Weight 78kg8 Dean Heffernan
Position Defender
DOB 19 May, 1980
Height 186cm
Weight 81kg9 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 92kg12 Greg Owens
Position Midfielder
DOB 27 Jan, 1981
Height 182cm
Weight 82kg13 Paul O-Grady
Position Defender
DOB 6 Nov, 1978
Height 193cm
Weight 92kg15 Andrew Clark
Position Defender
DOB 24 Aug, 1974
Height 180cm
Weight 74kg18 Alex Wilkinson
Position Defender
DOB 13 Aug, 1984
Height 187cm
Weight 85kg19 Matt Simon
Position Striker
DOB 22 Jan, 1986
Height 188cm
Weight 79kg20 Danny Vukovic
Position Goalkeeper
DOB 27 Mar, 1985
Height 187cm
Weight 96kg22 Sasho Petrovski
Position Striker
DOB 5 Mar, 1975
Height 180cm
Weight 80kg30 Andrew Redmayne
Position Goalkeeper
DOB 13 Jan, 1989
Height 194cm
Weight 84kg

The Mariners- Hyundai A-League campaign continues in the Victorian capital on Friday, 16 January, where the yellow and navy are set to face Hyundai A-League highflyers the Melbourne Victory at the Telstra Dome. Kick off is at 8pm.

The Mariners will be back at their Bluetongue Stadium home on Sunday, 25 January to host AFC Champions League finalists Adelaide United in the final regular season round of the Hyundai A-League 2008/09 campaign. Kick off is at 7pm.

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