Mariners Youth chase back-to-back Premierships
The Central Coast Mariners National Youth League side has come together for the first time to begin preparations, as they eye off replicating last season’s Premiership winning campaign this time around.
The Central Coast Mariners National Youth League side has come together for the first time to begin preparations, as they eye off replicating last season-s Premiership winning campaign this time around.
Head Coach Tony Walmsley liked what he saw at the side-s induction day, as he introduced seven new faces to the nine players retained from the 2009/10 campaign.
"The boys all seemed to get along really well and I-m really happy with the additions we have made this year to complement the quality players we have managed to hold on to.
"We go in to full time training next week and we have a friendly early on in the piece which will give the boys a great opportunity to show me where they are at," said Walmsley.
That Pre-Season trial will be against a Riverina Under 23-s representative side at Valentine on Wednesday night, and Walmsley is excited by the quality he has at his disposal.
"We have been lucky enough to hold on to Brady Smith despite some interest from elsewhere, along with Adam Ormsby and Nick Fitzgerald who both gained some valuable experience playing with the Bundaberg Spirit in the Queensland State League during the winter. When you add in the likes of Bernie Ibini-Isei, who was an excitement machine last season, and then Jerry Kalouris, Mitchell Mallia and Brendan Griffin, we have started with a really good base.
"Then on top of those guys we have brought in two of last season-s NYL captains in Sam Munro (Sydney FC) and Nikola Stanojevic (AIS), who are both youth internationals, plus some really talented young players like Nathan Jagelman from Marconi, Max Glanville from Northern Tigers and Jimmy Oates from Manly United, so they will provide some raw power and competition for places up front," said Walmsley.
At the other end of the park, Walmsley has added South Coast Wolves defender Alex Mansueto and goalkeeper David Bradasevic as a replacement for his ex Blacktown City teammate Mathew Ryan, who has won a spot in the Yellow and Navy-s Hyundai A-League squad, where he will join incumbent ‘keeper Nikodin Matic.
"Those two are both Westfield Sports High boys and it highlights the strength of our relationship with Westfield, especially when you also include Niko (Matic) Bernie, Mitch Mallia and Nikola (Stanojevic)."
The side has a tough task ahead if it is to replicate the success of the class of 2009/10, and Walmsley believes the side-s work at the back will be crucial to the charge to be first past the post, in a National Youth League which has opted to do away with a finals series.
"With a season of senior football behind them the players we-ve held on will be hard to shift, but as with the first team, having competition for every position is important.
"Our goal is to try to repeat the performance of last season with an emphasis on improving our defence, and at least matching our goal percentage.
"It-s an exciting squad. We-re very technical and will be good in possession and dangerous on the counter, but we still have a lot of work to doing defensive structure, transition and combination play.
"With the addition of some of the Under 20-s players in the Hyundai A-League squad, the competition for places each week will be fierce, and Mariners Members and supporters can look forward to another season of exciting football from the youth side," said Walmsley.
Off the pitch, former Mariner Damien Brown will again assist Walmsley, while Central Coast Lightning technical director John McLafferty will also join the coaching staff.
The National Youth League draw is still to be finalised before its release by Football Federation Australia.
Central Coast Mariners National Youth League squad: David BRADASEVIC (gk), Mitchell DUKE, Nick FITZGERALD, Brendan GRIFFIN, Max GLANVILLE, Bernie IBINI-ISEI, Nathan JAGELMAN, Jerry KALOURIS, Mitchell MALLIA, Alex MANSUETO, Nikodin MATIC (gk), Sam MUNRO, Jimmy OATES, Adam ORMSBY, Brady SMITH, Nikola STANOJEVIC.
Pre Season Trials
Central Coast Mariners NYL vs. Riverina U23-s Wednesday, 1 September Valentine Sports Park, Norwest Kick-off: 7:00pm
Central Coast Mariners NYL vs. Australian Institute of Sport Saturday, 11 September Hills Grammar School, Dural Kick-off: 2:00pm