Mariners primed for interstate decider

The Queensland and New South Wales rivals are locked at one-all after their two meetings so far this season, and Central Coast Mariners Football Manager Lawrie McKinna is confident of claiming the decider against Brisbane Roar, on home soil this Saturday.

The Queensland and New South Wales rivals are locked at one-all after their two meetings so far this season, and Central Coast Mariners Football Manager Lawrie McKinna is confident of claiming the decider against Brisbane Roar, on home soil this Saturday.

The Mariners atoned for their 1-nil loss at Suncorp Stadium back in round four, with a 3-nil demolition of the Roar at the same venue seven weeks later. Now McKinna is ready to maintain the most recent domination.

"It was comfortable, we dominated both physically and with the ball, so we have to look at doing that to them here," said McKinna.

While the 3-nil scoreline against the defending double winner Melbourne Victory last Saturday may not have reflected it, McKinna says his side can take a lot of confidence from what in the most part was a solid performance.

"There were plenty of positives. Ernie Merrick reckons it was their best away performance of the season. I thought we were well in the game until they scored, but they were clinical, they finished us off like we did to them down there.

"It wasn-t a drubbing by any means, so we have to take the positives into the Brisbane game because all games are hard. We-ve had two losses in two games we should have won easily but we never, so we need to get back to basics and get that momentum happening again," McKinna said.

Interestingly, the Mariners have not tasted success over the Roar since the 3-1 Pre-Season Cup victory of 2005, the first ever meeting between the two sides.

But maybe, statistics that don-t appear kind to the Central Coast, could ultimately work in their favour.

"I didn-t know that, but its good in a way because every time somebody tells us a statistic that is good for us we always lose it, so that doesn-t worry us.

"In saying that, they do do well against us generally, they-re busy and stuff like that, but we just have to counteract that and be positive with what we can do at the weekend," McKinna said.

The Central Coast sits in fifth place on the Hyundai A-League ladder but three points could send them rocketing back into the top three, and McKinna is keen on ensuring destiny remains in his side-s own hands.

"The last two weeks we-ve relied (on other results). If Newcastle got a draw or got beaten at the weekend we-d still be sitting fourth but we-re relying on other teams. It-s important for us to win games, especially at your home ground in front of your own fans.

Despite missing experienced pair Dean Heffernan and John Hutchinson through suspension, McKinna is confident of having World Cup bound New Zealand international Michael McGlinchey back from injury, while defender Shane Huke and striker Dylan Macallister have also been included in an extended squad.

"Mikey trained a full session yesterday and looked good, so we-re hoping he-ll be right to go back into the squad, with Heff and Hutch both out it-d be good to have him back," said McKinna.

Saturday-s match continues a football feast for fans on the Coast, and with the rain due to clear early tomorrow morning, a 6o-clock kick off presents an ideal time for families to get out and support the Mariners before settling in for the festive season.

“The fans were great in the Melbourne game, never stopped singing, and although its close to Christmas hopefully they can come out in their numbers, bring their families or whoever is visiting along and support us again, because it-s a busy time for us, with Sydney away on Wednesday then back here for New Years Eve against Wellington,” said McKinna.

*Head-to-Head: Played 16: Central Coast Mariners wins 3, Brisbane Roar wins 7 (6 draws)

Central Coast Mariners squad: 1. Andrew REDMAYNE (GK), 2. Matthew CROWELL, 3. Shane HUKE, 4. Brad PORTER, 5. Pedj BOJIC, 9. Nik MRDJA, 11. Dylan MACALLISTER, 12. Matthew LEWIS, 14. Michael McGLINCHEY, 15. Andrew CLARK, 16. Nigel BOOGAARD, 18. Alex WILKINSON (C), 19. Matt SIMON, 20. Danny VUKOVIC (GK), 21. Ahmad ELRICH, 22. Nicky TRAVIS, 23. Adam KWASNIK. ? *two to be omitted*??

In: Michael McGLINCHEY (return from injury), Shane HUKE (promoted), Dylan MACALLISTER (promoted)??

Out: Dean HEFFERNAN (suspended - 1 week), John HUTCHINSON (suspended - 1 week)??

Unavailable: Dean HEFFERNAN (suspended - 1 week), John HUTCHINSON (suspended - 1 week), Chris DOIG (quad - 1 week)

Brisbane Roar squad: 1. Matt HAM (gk), 2. Andrew PACKER, 3. Luke DEVERE, 4. Craig MOORE (c), 5. Josh McCLOUGHAN, 7. Michael ZULLO, 8. Massimo MURDOCCA, 9. Sergio VAN DIJK, 12.Matthew MUNDY, 13. HENRIQUE, 14. Adam SAROTA, 15. Matt McKAY, 17. Mitch NICHOLS, 20. Griffin McMASTER (gk), 21. Tommy OAR, 22. Ivan FRANJIC, 23. Tim SMITS, 25.Luke BRATTAN *three to be omitted*

In: Andrew PACKER (promoted), Luke BRATTAN (promoted), Tommy OAR (returns from injury), Matt MUNDY (promoted)

Out: David DODD (suspended - one game)

Unavailable: Danny TIATTO (hamstring injury - 1 week), REINALDO (hamstring injury - 1 week)

Referee: Alan Milliner

The Mariners- next home match of the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season will be against Brisbane Roar on Saturday, 19 December. Kick-off is at 6:00pm. Tickets are available online here or by phoning 132 849.

Mariners Four Match Christmas Packs are available online by clicking here