Mariners Youth aiming to end home season with a Roar

After accounting for Sydney 3-1 in the furnace that was Marconi Stadium last Saturday - the Central Coast Mariners National Youth League team can now focus on their final home match of the 2010/11 campaign. The Young Mariners will play the Brisbane Roar for the second time in three matches at Pluim Park this Saturday afternoon, and are looking to c

After accounting for Sydney 3-1 in the furnace that was Marconi Stadium last Saturday - the Central Coast Mariners National Youth League team can now focus on their final home match of the 2010/11 campaign. The Young Mariners will play the Brisbane Roar for the second time in three matches at Pluim Park this Saturday afternoon, and are looking to continue the pressure on Gold Coast at the top of the table.

Soaring temperatures greeted the Mariners when they travelled south to take on their southern rivals. With the mercury nudging 40 degrees, kick-off was delayed by two-hours. It didn-t affect the youngsters though who continued their hot run of form, netting three goals in a first-half attacking blitz that rocketed the team into second spot on the ladder. Mitchell Duke continued his golden run, netting a brace, whilst Jimmy Oates completed the scoring.

Mariners Head Coach Tony Walmsley says he-s still contemplating what side to put out against the Roar tomorrow.

“At this stage we need to see the make up of the senior team for Sunday-s game with Newcastle before determining the line-up, but everyone is hitting form at the right time and the team spirit is outstanding now,” Walmsley said.

It has been a positive week all round for the Young Mariners. Not only have they managed three consecutive wins, but the solid form of the team has been recognised by Hyundai A-League Head Coach Graham Arnold. National Youth League regulars Bernie Ibini-Isei, and Mitchell Duke joined Mathew Ryan, Mustafa Amini, Matthew Lewis and Trent Sainsbury for Wednesday-s 3-1 Hyundai A-League victory over Gold Coast United.

All of those players are graduates of the National Youth League system, and a timely reminder that the National Youth League does give aspiring youngsters the opportunity to play senior football. Capping off a memorable evening, Ibini-Isei and Duke, the two leading goal-scorers in the National Youth League continued their exploits netting their first senior goals for the Mariners. Mustafa Amini also notched his debut goal in the rout, putting the exclamation mark on the youth policy that is currently being employed by the Mariners.

“While Bernie and Dukey scoring on Wednesday night was no surprise to me, it does indicate how far we have come. Arnie has been supportive all season and when that support converts to putting faith in the young boys for such an important game the youth program is validated. We have another three players ready to step into the first team if required, so our depth is in good shape. The challenge will be retention,” said Walmsley.

Fortunately for the Mariners, a quick glance at Saturday-s forecast promises that the match won-t be played in the trying conditions which greeted them for last weekend-s clash with Sydney FC. Early forecasts suggests a that it will be around 30 degrees by the time kick-off rolls around, and with chances of late showers, conditions should be ideal for football.

The short turn-around between matches means that the side has largely relied on match fitness built up over the course of the season, and thorough recovery in order to back up. A squad with depth has provided Tony Walmsley plenty of options, and the coach has taken full advantage, rotating his squad and resting players at the first sign of fatigue.

On the field Brisbane will provide a stern test for the Young Mariners. The Queenslanders are coming off a 1-nil defeat to Adelaide United last start, and are desperate to avenge a 5-2 defeat the last time the two sides met, twelve days ago.

On that occasion Ibini-Isei and Mitchell Mallia netted a brace each, with Trent Sainsbury also contributing to the scoresheet.

The Mariners attackers have cashed in on astounding contributions from across the park in recent weeks, and it is that, more than anything else that has seen the side rise so meteorically up the ladder.

“Football is a team game - a squad game even - and philosophically I believe that a player needs to be doing his job for the team. In the youth team that-s not as easy as it sounds as every player is vying for a pro contract, which can lead to a more individual approach. This group understands the values of teamwork and when they put it together, as they did in the last two games, they can-t be touched at this level. It-s unfortunate we played Gold Coast three times in the first 6 rounds, but if they slip up against the AIS this weekend the championship will go down to the final round,” Walmsley said.

The Young Mariners have the luxury of a week-s break before they travel to Canberra to do battle with the Australian Institute of Sport in a fixture that wraps up their season.

With the boys from the AIS sitting in third spot, and just a point below Tony Walmsley-s charges, Saturday-s match against the Roar takes on extra importance. With Sydney FC and Adelaide United lurking just behind, the final positions on the ladder will in all likelihood be decided on the last day of the season.

Saturday-s clash with the Brisbane Roar will be the 9th competitive fixture between the two rivals.

The Central Coast Mariners National Youth League team play their final home match of the 2010/11 campaign against the Brisbane Roar this Saturday, 12 February at Pluim Park, Lisarow. Kick-off is at 3:00pm AEDT.

Previous Meetings

Saturday, 6 Dec 2008 - Central Coast Mariners 1, Queensland Roar 0, Bluetongue Stadium Saturday, 20 Dec 2008 - Central Coast Mariners 1, Queensland Roar 2, Ballymore Stadium Saturday, 10 Jan 2009 - Central Coast Mariners 0, Queensland Roar 3, Bluetongue Stadium Sunday, 18 Oct 2009 - Central Coast Mariners 2, Brisbane Roar 1, Ballymore Stadium Saturday, 14 Nov 2009 - Central Coast Mariners 3, Brisbane Roar 1, Ballymore Stadium Saturday, 19 Dec 2009 - Central Coast Mariners 4, Brisbane Roar 3, Bluetongue Stadium Sunday, 17 Oct 2010 - Central Coast Mariners 1, Brisbane Roar 1, Spencer Park, Brisbane Tuesday, 1 Feb 2010 - Central Coast Mariners 5, Brisbane Roar 2, Spencer Park, Brisbane

Central Coast Mariners squad: David BRADASEVIC (gk), Nikodin MATIC (gk), Sam MUNRO, Brendan GRIFFIN, Bernie IBINI ISEI, Mitchell DUKE, Nathan JAGELMAN, Jimmy OATES, Nick FITZGERALD, Max GLANVILLE, Zac FREEBURN, Jerry KALOURIS, Alex MANSUETO, Mitchell MALLIA. *one to be added*

Unavailable: Nil