Mariners primed for NYL tilt

After months of planning, the new look Central Coast Mariners National Youth League squad will enter battle for the first time this season, when they take on Adelaide United’s Youth team in the opening round at Hindmarsh Stadium this Friday.

After months of planning, the new look Central Coast Mariners National Youth League squad will enter battle for the first time this season, when they take on Adelaide United-s Youth team in the opening round at Hindmarsh Stadium this Friday. Under the guidance of head coach Tony Walmsley and youth development coordinator Damien Brown, the team has high hopes after a disappointing maiden campaign, which was hampered by such a short preparation.

"We-re confident the boys are prepared, after the obstacles we-ve had, with State League and things like that," said Walmsley.

"We-re prepared as well as we can be going into the game and everyone is fit which is the main thing for us, all we have to wait for now is which of the first team players will be complementing the squad travelling away."

Despite being this week announced as the captain for the 2009/10 season, Sutherland Sharks midfielder Panny Nikas won-t be travelling to Adelaide, instead, he-ll remain in Sydney to fight out the New South Wales Premier League grand final. Four other Mariners youth would have been absent too, had Blacktown City beaten Marconi in last week-s Preliminary Final.

"Unfortunately for Blacktown, Blacktown got knocked out which freed up four players for us, which is good for us going into the game. I think without them we might have been really stretched.

"Panni Nikas is out, he-s our new captain this season and he-ll be a big loss going into the first game, and Jerry Kalouris from (Sydney) Olympic is also going to be playing finals football this week, so we-ll miss him, he-s been one of our best competitors through the pre-season, but we-ve got plenty of numbers, and it gives some other players the opportunity to step up," said Walmsley.

With just two players surviving from season one n Nathan Sherlock and Brady Smith, Walmsley has been impressed with what he-s seen from his squad, after wins over both Central Coast Lightning and Spirit FC.

"They-ve done well, they are a very creative side, and defensively we-ve worked heavily on structure, but the true test will be up against an equivalent Youth League team with some A-League players in there, and we haven-t really been tested at that level yet, so the proof will be in the actual performance.

"Browny and I are really excited about the prospects, we-ve got players we think can definitely step up into the A-League squad if need be, and certainly who have got a future in the game, so that-s the most exciting thing for me. I think we-d also like to put the Mariners on the map as far as Youth League football goes as well," said Walmsley.

Central Coast Mariners National Youth League squad 2009/10: Luka DUKIC, Nick FITZGERALD, Gavin FORBES, Emmanuel GIANNAROS, Brendan GRIFFIN, David GULLO, Jerry KALOURIS, Matthew LIDDALL, Mitchell MALLIA, Nikodin MATIC (gk), Panny NIKAS (c), Adam ORMSBY, Matthew RYAN (gk), Nathan SHERLOCK, Brady SMITH, Graziano TRIMBOLI.

The Mariners' NYL team's first home match of the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season will be against Gold Coast United on Saturday, 19 September. Kick-off is at 4:45pm. Tickets for this match are available online here or by phoning 132 849.

Mariners Memberships for the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season are now available online by clicking here or by phoning 1300 767 442.