Mariners set to launch late Premiership bid

The Central Coast Mariners’ bid for back-to-back Hyundai A-League Premierships is alive and well – that’s the message from inside the Mariners camp this week as they prepare to put their most celebrated silverware on the line against the Queensland Roar at Bluetongue Stadium on Saturday.

The Central Coast Mariners- bid for back-to-back Hyundai A-League Premierships is alive and well - that-s the message from inside the Mariners camp this week as they prepare to put their most celebrated silverware on the line against the Queensland Roar at Bluetongue Stadium on Saturday.

With three regular season rounds still to play, the Mariners are in the mix to retain their Premiers Plate, but will perhaps need to record three straight victories against their three most in-form rivals to close out the campaign.

With gun strike pairing Dylan Macallister and Matt Simon returned from suspension, the Mariners- chances of taking maximum points from Saturday-s clash against the Roar have increased somewhat, particularly given that Mile Jedinak is the only omission from the Mariners line up that was so impressive against the Perth Glory on New Year-s Eve.

Only Nigel Boogaard and Ahmad Elrich are unavailable for selection due to their respective injury concerns, but generally the Mariners and fit, in high spirits following last night-s AFC Champions League 2009 draw and determined to make one last play for the Hyundai A-League Premiership.

"If we can win two games of our remaining three we-d be a good chance of getting second spot and if we win all three we-ll be in there fighting for the Premiership," said Mariners Football Manager Lawrie McKinna.

"We still believe that we can win the Premiership and we won-t stop believing until it-s mathematically impossible.

"Our main goal is to qualify for the Finals Series and a win against Queensland will probably cement that, depending on other results, from then on in it-s a bonus if we can challenge for the Premiership."

In order to maintain their charge towards the Hyundai A-League Premiership, the Mariners must overcome one of the anomalies of their four-year Hyundai A-League history on Saturday.

Saturday-s meeting between the Mariners and the Roar at Bluetongue Stadium marks the seventeenth match up between the two sides in all competitions and not since their 2005 Pre-Season Cup triumph have the yellow and navy defeated their Brisbane-based rivals at their idyllic waterfront home.

The Mariners and the Roar share one of the more peculiar head to head records in the Hyundai A-League, with draws overwhelmingly dominating past results between the two clubs - a consequence of an amazing six straight stalemates between October 2005 and October 2006.

In total, the Mariners have claimed four victories against the Roar, have suffered just as many losses and have played out eight draws.

"Queensland are similar to us in many ways in terms of their work rate and high tempo game and they-ve got a great midfield with Matt McKay and Massimo Murdocca," said McKinna

"The last game that we played at Bluetongue Stadium was probably the best that we-ve done against them - Sergio Van Dijk scored a great free kick but after that Danny Vukovic didn-t have a save to make.

"We-ll go in to the game at the weekend full of confidence and thinking that we can get a result."

Hyundai A-League 2008/09, Round 19
Central Coast Mariners vs. Queensland Roar
Bluetongue Stadium - Saturday, 10 January 2008, Kick off 7pm
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 92kg13 Paul O-Grady
Position Defender
DOB 6 Nov, 1978
Height 193cm
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 80kg30 Andrew Redmayne
Position Goalkeeper
DOB 13 Jan, 1989
Height 194cm
Weight 84kg

The Mariners are back at Bluetongue Stadium on Saturday, 10 January when they host the Queensland Roar in Round 19 of the Hyundai A-League 2008/09 season. Kick off is at 7pm.

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