Mariners NYL team gearing up for opening round derby

Central Coast Mariners National Youth League (NYL) team will commence their 2011/12 season against Newcastle Jets at Pluim Park, Lisarow this Friday night.

Central Coast Mariners National Youth League (NYL) team will commence their 2011/12 season against Newcastle Jets at Pluim Park, Lisarow this Friday night.

Kicking-off at 6pm, the match will mark somewhat of a new era for the burgeoning Mariners, with Head Coach Tony Walmsley highlighting that there has been a relatively high turnover of players for this campaign.

Despite the new faces within his squad, Walmsley believes his team has a good opportunity to distinguish themselves again this term.

“I would say that we are in much better shape at the moment than we were at the same point last year,” he said.

“We-ve had four games in the last eight days and I believe as a squad we-ve got a better balance and mentality than we did last season.”

On the weekend the Mariners NYL team ventured to Western NSW to play two training matches.

In the first encounter, the junior Yellow and Navy stars cruised to a 6-nil victory over a local representative eleven.

Midfielder and former AIS skipper Nikola Stanojevic scored a double in that game, and Walmsley said he-d be a player supporters ought to keep an eye on throughout the season.

“Nikola only played one game with us last season before needing surgery. He missed out on the U20 World Cup as well, but he-s back with us this year and he-s getting fitter and stronger every day - he-s showing some great signs.”

In the second match of their brief tour, the junior Mariners lost 1-0 to Bathurst 75 - a team that play in Football NSW-s State League Division 2.

Despite the defeat, Walmsley said he was pleased with the performance of his chargers.

“It was most important to stay injury free on a difficult surface and we were doubling up within 48 hours, but we commanded possession, hit the bar twice and managed to test their 'keeper who pulled off some very good saves,” he said.

In addition to Stanojevic, Walmsley identified Mitchell Duke, Nick Littler and Anthony Caceres as players gaining momentum heading into the season, while new captain, Jimmy Oates and Brendan Griffin will take recent senior experience into round one.

"While we are focused on player development, on match day the team comes first. With the defensive structure of the first team and an intention to play a fast passing and creative brand of attacking football, I am hopeful that we will see new players bridging the gap to the first team this season,” he said.

Prior to their two match tour of Western NSW, the Mariners NYL team played the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) and Sydney FC (Youth) in preparation for the 2011/12 NYL season.

The Yellow and Navy secured a nil-all draw against the AIS and lost 2-1 to Sydney FC.

Central Coast Mariners 2011/12 National Youth League Squad Dylan MITCHELL (GK), Hayden MORTON, Joshua DASILVA, Adam JENNER, Nick LITTLER, Anthony CACERES, Brendan GRIFFIN, Jimmy OATES (c), Nikola STANOJEVIC, Mitchell DUKE, Kwabena APPIAH-KUBI, Zac FREEBURN, Ben JURMAN, David BRADASEVIC (GK)

Staff: Head Coach - Tony Walmsley Assistant Coach - John McLafferty Youth Development Co-ordinator - Damien Brown