Central Coast Mariners Assistant Coach, Ivan Jolic has praised the hard work of Strength & Conditioning Coach Balder Berckmans and Physiotherapist Murray Leyland that has ultimately resulted in the return and instant impact of Blake Powell.
Since returning two weeks ago against Wellington Phoenix from a long-term injury, the 26-year-old attacker has chipped in with an assist and a game winning goal.
Powell has worked incredibly hard to break his way back into the Mariners side and Jolic has praised the commitment of Powell and the tireless efforts of the club’s rehabilitation team.
“On a personal level, it’s terrific for Blake who’s been out with a pretty serious and long-term injury,” Jolic said. “It’s full credit to him and it’s also full credit to our medical staff who have put together a program which has allowed Blake to not only come back into contention for selection but actually make an impact every time he’s come on.
“He’s had an assist and a goal in the last couple of weeks, so the plan that the medical staff have put together is working wonders,” Jolic said.
Belgian Strength & Conditioning Coach, Balder Berckmans was hand-picked to join the Mariners at the start of the season and Murray Leyland is now in his second season with the Yellow & Navy.
Jolic credited the two crucial members of the club’s football department for the countless hours they put in behind the scenes to not only ensure that each player returns in tip top shape, but also remains in prime condition once they have recovered from an injury.
“Balder has hit the ground running, Murray is in his second season with the Mariners, so carries a lot of experience from last season – one thing that we have all agreed on this season is that the best way to get players fit and healthy is to work hard.
“The guys like Balder and Murray work tirelessly behind the scenes and a lot of the time you don’t see the work they do – particularly with rehab players who aren’t part of the match day or training squads. These guys come in on days off, in peculiar hours and put in the hard work so that the players can come back in tip top shape and have an impact on games,” Jolic said.
Although the Mariners football department doesn’t boast a headcount as high as some of the other Hyundai A-League clubs, Jolic says that there is a mantra of hard work within the group to ensure that best practice is always achieved.
“When you have less resources sometimes the consensus is that you do less – fortunately at the Mariners this isn't the case," Jolic said. "We have this motto within the group that we want to be best practice, best practice irrespective of the resources. That means you need to undertake certain processes and protocols that we’ve implemented – it’s hard work and these guys accumulate an absolute stack of hours, much of which is out of sight of anyone.
“Their job isn’t sexy but ultimately they punch the air as high as anyone when Powelly scores because they can take full ownership of those moments,” Jolic said.
Jolic admitted that player selection is the hardest part of a coach’s job but competition for places on the pitch is ultimately what drives the best football teams.
With the likes of Storm Roux, Josh Rose & Asdrubal back to full training, competition for places is red hot on the Central Coast.
“Selection is probably the toughest part of being a coach and having the conversation with those not selected,” Jolic said. “But competition is what really drives sessions and we’ve always worked on the mantra that players select themselves. We only articulate and finalise a decision that’s made already during the week on the training track.
“The people who influence that selection process are the players themselves and ultimately as a football club it’s a healthy position to be in. If we can have more competition for places we know that we will get stronger as a football club.
“You just need to take a look at the hard work of Kwabena Appiah,” Jolic said. “Through his substitute appearances he has performed so admirably and had an impact, so as soon as an opening was there, he takes it and he’s getting more minutes and having an impact.
“Storm Roux, Josh Rose and Asdrubal have all joined full team training,” Jolic said. “They are all putting their hand up so they are all in contention for some role within the travelling squad this week but we will leave those decisions until the last minute,” Jolic said.
Sunday, 10 December 2017
Hyundai A-League Round 10
Match: Melbourne City vs. Central Coast Mariners
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick-off: 7:00pm (AEDT)
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS AUSTRALIA
Hash-tag: Join the match conversation using #MCYvCCM & #CCMFC