Mariners Youth Eyeing A Capital Invasion

A week is a long time in football and the Mariners National Youth League team have bounced back in the best possible fashion defeating the Brisbane Roar.

A week is a long time in football and the Mariners National Youth League team have bounced back in the best possible fashion defeating the Brisbane Roar.

After suffering their first loss of the season against the Melbourne Victory a week previously the Young Mariners were keen to return to their best form.

This they duly did defeating the Brisbane Roar 3 - 1 with goals coming from the boots of Nik Mrdja, Panny Nikas and Nick Fitzgerald.

NYL captain Panny Nikas was pleased with the result.

"We-re happy with the result as it was an improvement on the last time we played against them when we just managed to sneak a late equaliser.

"This time our display for the whole 90 minutes was a lot more convincing and we were able to finish off our chances," Nikas said.

The Mariners attack has been one of their great attributes throughout the season having already netted 23 goals this campaign, 5 clear of their nearest rivals Adelaide and Gold Coast United who have each managed 18 apiece.

What is really pleasing for the Young Mariners is the fact that these goals are coming from all over the park.

"We-ve got a lot of good attacking players and our combinations are working extremely well.

"The main thing we are concentrating on at the moment is improving our defence as we-re pretty confident in our ability to score goals," Nikas said.

When the NYL was created last season a main selling point was that it provided an opportunity for first team players to regain match fitness at a competitive level before returning to the Hyundai A-League. Nikas believes that the benefits flow both ways.

"Having the overage players in the team makes you want to lift your game. As a result some players are getting limited game time. For instance they might play 25 or 30 minutes at a time in a game and are keen on proving themselves.

"It works well because it creates competition. For example Mitch Mallia came on when Dylan Macallister got injured and had a strong game. Having the overage players lifts the standard of the competition.

"It-s great because it gives you the chance to prove to yourself, the club and your teammates that if you get called up to the first team that you can perform to that standard," Nikas said.

Saturday-s trip to the nation-s capital continues a long sequence of away trips for the team from the Central Coast. It is the sixth consecutive match away from home that has seen the Mariners rack up the kilometres but more importantly for Tony Walmsley-s charges, they have also been racking up the results.

"The away trips have been really good. We-ve achieved some strong results on the road, only losing one game so we-re happy with that. Our organisation and preparation ahead of the trips have been excellent.

"It-s going to be another tough trip to Canberra this weekend. We-ve been there once this season against Adelaide and it-s probably going to be hot again. We-ve got to prepare well and go out and play our best football," Nikas said.

The Young Mariners are under no illusions about the challenge that awaits them in Canberra.

"Last time we played the AIS they probably really should-ve got the victory. We didn-t play particularly well but managed to scrape a draw. They-re a team who can pass the ball really quickly across the ground, hold their shape well and have good speed across the park.

"We-re going to play to our strengths and go out and hopefully get the three points," Nikas said.

Saturday-s clash with the AIS will be the 2nd competitive clash between the two clubs.

Previous Meetings

Sat 10 Oct 2009 - Central Coast Mariners 2 drew AIS 2, Seymour Shaw Park, Sydney

Central Coast Mariners squad: Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), Nic MATIC (gk), Shane HUKE (OA), David D'APUZZO, Adam ORMSBY, Nathan SHERLOCK, Brady SMITH, Panny NIKAS (c), Mitchell MALLIA, Nick FITZGERALD, Brendan GRIFFIN, Manny GIANNAROS, Gavin FORBES, David GULLO, Luka DUKIC, Jerry KALOURIS, Matthew LIDDALL, Graz TRIMBOLI.


The Central Coast Mariners National Youth League team is in action this Saturday, 21st November when it takes on the Australian Institute of Sport at the AIS Athletics Track, Canberra. Kickoff is at 2pm.

Mariners Memberships for the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season are now on sale by clicking here