Mariners unfazed by flu threat

The Central Coast Mariners are preparing for tomorrow’s pre-season trial against Gold Coast United as normal, despite the H1N1 Swine Flu scare, which has rocked their opponent’s camp.

The Central Coast Mariners are preparing for tomorrow-s pre-season trial against Gold Coast United as normal, despite the H1N1 Swine Flu scare, which has rocked their opponent-s camp.

The Mariners have trained at Southport Soccer Club this afternoon after arriving at the holiday mecca, and while five of United-s stars - including former Mariner Matt Osman - will sit out the clash after displaying symptoms, the yellow and navy are confident they-ll avoid infection.

"Not really, the boys have just joked about it, it-s not really a concern, I-m sure Gold Coast have done everything they need to do make sure it-s all clear, the five boys are in quarantine, they-ve done everything they can do, so no, it-s not a concern,” said Mariners Football Manager Lawrie McKinna.

"It doesn-t surprise me Ossie (Matt Osman) has swine flu with the kind of people he hangs around with," joked good friend and Mariners defender Brad Porter.

"It-s obviously a serious issue, but I-m sure every precaution has been taken, and if the game is going ahead, for the people to make that decision, it-s OK," said Porter.

The match is arguably the toughest test of the Mariners short five-match pre-season campaign, but McKinna-s men believe they are perfectly prepared for the challenge.

"Gold Coast are the glamour team and I know they-ve got a few players out with the flu, but nobody is at full strength at this time of the year so it will be a good hitout for the boys at Skilled Stadium. The boys have just had a good training session, they-re looking pretty sharp after another heavy week, so we-re looking forward to the game.

"They-ve not been beaten, and the first team who beats them is going to get that, but I-d rather beat them in the league than in pre-season. In saying that, it is important to get a win. When we went to Queensland it was about starting to build on the new season, and so far we-ve done well. We-ve had two draws and three wins, and we need to continue that, and go into the Hyundai A-League season undefeated, a bit of confidence behind us.

"Canberra was great for us, two good games and five days of great training at the institute, and we had the game against Sydney, so the first two and a half weeks have been great, the boys are starting to look match fit again, they-re starting to get over double training sessions, and the boys coming up were really chirpy, and they were chirpy out here as well. We-re happy where we are at, we-ve got this game and then next week-s against Wellington, and a couple of in-house ones as well, so we-re very happy about how the pre-season is going," said McKinna.

"Apparently they are supposed to go through undefeated this season, but no, obviously it-s going to be a good test to see where we are at, we got back from Canberra last week after having a couple of really good hitouts down there and it-ll be good to get out there on a decent stadium, a decent pitch, and play against Hyundai A-League opposition to see where we-re at," added Porter.

"It-s only three weeks yesterday until the first game of the season against Melbourne (on Thursday, 6 August), so now is really the time for us to be working on combinations, I think there-s a decent base level of fitness amongst the boys now and now its about getting some combinations on the field and some form going into that first game."

With Osman sitting out because of health concerns, along with Tahj Minniecon, Joel Porter, Daniel Piorkowski and Adam Griffiths, the Mariners are denied the chance to catch up with one of their foundation members.

"I-ve said it before, he was a great servant to the club and I hope he does well up here for himself. He-s a good boy, has a nice family, and I hope he gets over his flu. If I saw him before the game I-d probably give him a hug and I-d get it off of him, so I hope he-s still quarantined and he-s wrapped up in bed," McKinna said.

Former Celtic starlet Michael McGlinchey will get his first chance to impress McKinna in a game situation, after the trialist put in some positive performances at training.

"Trying a few new things with the players, Michael McGlinchey will start tomorrow and looks very exciting, he looks like a very good player and while he-s small, he-s lively and looks good on the ball, so it should be good to watch him in the game tomorrow," McKinna said.

Tickets for this match are limited to 5,000, and are $30 for Adults and $17 for children. For more information visit

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