Mariners set to ignite Premiership march across the Tasman

The Central Coast Mariners have arrived in the New Zealand capital and have set their sights on three Hyundai A-League points against season four bogey side the Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium tomorrow.

The Central Coast Mariners have arrived in the New Zealand capital and have set their sights on three Hyundai A-League points against season four bogey side the Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium tomorrow.

Aside from Hyundai A-League highflyers the Melbourne Victory, the Phoenix are the only opponent that Mariners have yet to record a win against throughout the current campaign and, indeed, are the only opponent the Mariners have yet to score against.

Having reclaimed a place in the Hyundai A-League top four and with three consecutive fixtures looming against sides placed in the bottom four, the time is now for the Mariners to ignite their Premiership defence.

Spearheading the quest for goals and competition points across the Tasman are each of the squad members that emerged triumphant against Sydney FC at Bluetongue Stadium last Saturday, in addition to veteran defender Andrew Clark, who has been added to an extended 16-man squad.

"We-re very confident after the last minute win against Sydney and we-re well aware of Wellington-s danger and how well they-ve played," said Mariners Assistant Coach Alex Tobin.

"The next few games will really decide the top four, or at least the shape of the top four and we certainly want to be involved in that, it-s a huge month for us and it-s a huge month for every team in the Hyundai A-League.

"If you fall over in December you-re probably not going to be there come finals time, we-re not thinking beyond Wellington, that-s our priority at the moment, but it-s certainly going to be a very difficult month."

The Mariners- history against the Phoenix has been a tale of two seasons - the first one of utter dominance for the former and the second one of a near complete reversal in the favour of the Phoenix.

After claiming four straight victories over the Phoenix in the first four competitive meetings between the two sides, the Mariners have been hardly as clinical in clashes against their Trans Tasman rivals throughout season four - suffering two defeats and recording one draw and failing to score a goal in the process.

The Mariners- last triumph over the Phoenix was in the final round of their Premiership winning third season, with former marksman and current Wellington squad member Adam Kwasnik netting the Mariners- most recent goal against the team from the Kiwi capital.

In total, the Mariners have registered four wins over the Phoenix, suffered two losses and drawn once.

"They-re a team that-s looking for a top four position and it-s always difficult to come to Wellington," said Tobin.

"We-ve had reasonable success there, but we-re well aware that Wellington are traveling reasonably well and they-ve got a sniff for a first up finals campaign, which is a lot of motivation for them.

"There-s plenty of motivation for us as well, a win last week has put us in good stead, but we need to back that up."

Hyundai A-League 2008/09, Round 16
Wellington Phoenix vs. Central Coast Mariners
Westpac Stadium - Friday, 19 December 2008, Kick off 5.30pm AEDT
2 Andre Gumprecht
Position Midfielder
DOB 26 Nov, 1974
Height 175cm
Weight 77kg4 Pedj Bojic
Position Defender
DOB 9 Apr, 1984
Height 180cm
Weight 75kg5 Bradley Porter
Position Midfielder
DOB 19 Feb, 1987
Height 179cm
Weight 74kg7 John Hutchinson
Position Midfielder
DOB 29 Dec, 1979
Height 179cm
Weight 78kg8 Dean Heffernan
Position Defender
DOB 19 May, 1980
Height 186cm
Weight 81kg9 Nik Mrdja
Position Striker
DOB 30 Nov, 1978
Height 186cm
Weight 87kg10 Adrian Caceres
Position Midfielder
DOB 10 Jan, 1982
Height 178cm
Weight 84kg11 Dylan Macallister
Position Striker
DOB 17 May, 1982
Height 191cm
Weight 92kg15 Andrew Clark
Position Defender
DOB 24 Aug, 1974
Height 180cm
Weight 74kg17 Matthew Osman
Position Midfielder
DOB 29 Jul, 1983
Height 183cm
Weight 75kg18 Alex Wilkinson
Position Defender
DOB 13 Aug, 1984
Height 187cm
Weight 85kg19 Matt Simon
Position Striker
DOB 22 Jan, 1986
Height 188cm
Weight 79kg20 Danny Vukovic
Position Goalkeeper
DOB 27 Mar, 1985
Height 187cm
Weight 96kg22 Sasho Petrovski
Position Striker
DOB 5 Mar, 1975
Height 180cm
Weight 80kg23 Mile Jedinak
Position Midfielder
DOB 3 Aug, 1984
Height 189cm
Weight 88kg30 Andrew Redmayne
Position Goalkeeper
DOB 13 Jan, 1989
Height 194cm
Weight 84kg

The Mariners- Hyundai A-League season continues across the Tasman on Friday, 19 December at Westpac Stadium against the Wellington Phoenix. Kick off is at 5.30pm AEDT.

The Mariners return to their Bluetongue Stadium home on Wednesday, 31 December - New Year-s Eve - for the showpiece of their annual summer holiday extravaganza, which will culminate with a Hyundai A-League fixture against the Perth Glory. Kick off is at 6pm.

Tickets for this match are on sale from Ticketek outlets, from the Ticketek website - www.ticketek.com.au, or via phone on 132 849.

For more information regarding the Gosford waterfront New Year-s Eve festival, visit www.gosfordnye.com.au.