It’s crunch time this weekend for the Central Coast Mariners Academy, with both the Men’s and Women’s teams involved in semi-final action.
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NPL2 Men sponsored by State Road Constructions |
A week after clinching the Premiership with a win over Bonnyrigg at Pluim Park, Nick Montgomery and the NPL2 Men’s side will take on the same opponent for a spot in the NPL2 Grand Final at the same venue.
The 4-1 win last Sunday was tougher than the scoreline indicated against an experienced White Eagles team, and Nick Montgomery was jubilant in victory but also aware that the task at hand is far from over.
“We’re extremely proud of the success this season from both our U/20’s and first grade,” he said.
To win both league titles and the club championship over the course of the season is always the measure of success, but with finals football here we know our job is far from over and as a group we want to go all the way this year.”
“With the strength and perseverance that the boys have shown in this unprecedented season, I’m confident in the ability of this group to finish the season strong.”
Familiarity with Bonnyrigg will work both ways, with the White Eagles also having a knowledge of their opponent’s and Montgomery knows that the team will be out to get one back over the Mariners after last weekend.
“We know what to expect from Bonnyrigg given we faced them last weekend, they are physical and direct, but we also know that they are going to come out firing and will want to get one back over us,” Montgomery said.
“We will be ready for a tough encounter and certainly can’t rest on our laurels. We have taken each game as it comes this season and this week will be no different.”
Fixtures | Pluim Park, Sunday 4th October
1st Grade: Central Coast Mariners v Bonnyrigg White Eagles – 3pm
U/20’s: Central Coat Mariners v Blacktown Spartans – 12:30pm
NPL2 Women sponsored by Club Mingara |
For the third consecutive year the Mariners NPL2 Women’s side will head into finals and will face a tough test straight up as they face North Shore Mariners away from home.
The only meeting between the two sides this season took place back in round six as North Shore prevailed, but ahead of the game Dan Barrett said his opponent is of no concern if his team can execute their plan on game day.
“I was never concerned about who we played to be honest,” he said this week.
“There were no preferences since it’s elimination for all teams in the final four straight up, so any advantages have been thrown out the window.”
“We just have to be concerned about being the best team on the day.”
Despite some key departures there is still plenty of finals experience in the squad that Barrett believes can carry the team forward into a grand final but is also embracing being the arguable ‘underdog’ in this battle.
“We’ve lost a couple of girls during the season but there is still plenty of experience within the group,” he said.
“There are players in this team who are strong and can help take the team forward into the grand final.”
“We love the underdog tag, they have it all to lose after their regular season and as far as I’m concerned there’s no pressure on us heading into the game.”
Barrett will be without Candice Phelan and Brooke Miller for the weekend in a blow for the squad but thanked them for their role in getting the squad to this point of the season.
Fixtures | Northbridge Oval, Sunday 4th October
1st Grade: North Shore Mariners v Central Coast Mariners – 3pm
Reserves: Central Coast Mariners v North Shore Mariners – 12:30pm