Mariners Youth Gunning For Victory

By earning the three points over Adelaide United last Sunday in Canberra, courtesy of Gavin Forbes’s late winner, the Central Coast Mariners NYL side have further consolidated second place on the league ladder.

By earning the three points over Adelaide United last Sunday in Canberra, courtesy of Gavin Forbes-s late winner, the Central Coast Mariners NYL side have further consolidated second place on the league ladder.

After 7 rounds of the National Youth League the side is sitting behind NSW rival and defending champion Sydney FC with four wins, and three draws to their credit.

Their next clash against the Melbourne Victory sees the young Mariners take on the side that they defeated to earn their historic first win in the National Youth League. Goal scorers from that match were David D-Apuzzo who scored the first goal for the Central Coast side in a NYL competitive match and Hyundai A-League squad member Dylan Macalister, both of which who had strong performances in the Mariners last outing against Adelaide.

Mariners captain Panny Nikas, who converted a penalty to cancel out the first goal from opposing skipper Matthew Mullen in that match was relieved to get the three points.

"It was great to leave Canberra with the three points. We really stuck it out and showed good character for the win.

"The late wins are a result of fitness as the boys are pretty fit from their State League clubs and we work pretty hard at training. Also the competitiveness at training where everyone fights until the last minute to try to win and make the squad.

"That showed on the weekend where we just work hard and put the effort in for one another until the last minute," Nikas said.

Early weather forecasts suggests that the weather that awaits the young Mariners this Sunday at Vento Club, will be 31 degrees and sunny. Conditions strikingly similar to what they had to overcome against Adelaide only a week ago.

The Young Mariners didn-t appear to be troubled by the heat last week although it did force the substitute-s benches from both teams to seek refuge in the grandstand, a sight seldom seen in football.

Nikas concedes that the heat is something that does take some getting used to. Although to their credit the Mariners continued to play attacking football last week, which was reflected in the ultimate result.

"The heat is different as we are used to playing our State League games at night. It has been affecting us but at the end of the day both teams have to play in the heat. Ideally 5pm would be the best time of day to play," Nikas said.

Sunday-s clash against Melbourne will be a crucial encounter for both sides. Should the Mariners defeat their Victorian rivals they will continue to put the pressure on frontrunners Sydney FC. Melbourne is looking for the chance to force its way into the top four, currently sitting in 5th position on 10 points. All in all it should be an entertaining clash.

Nikas and the team are looking forward to the trip to Melbourne and are expecting a tough encounter.

"This is the first time we-ve played Melbourne Victory this season and they look to be playing reasonably well. We are expecting another tough game. We are playing away again and every away game should be treated with a bit more caution.

"When you look at their first team and youth players that they seem to produce, they will be a good team. We would expect them to be similar to Adelaide.

"We-re pretty confident with the way we-ve started our season and we are being level headed. We-re just going to go there and stick to our game plan and hopefully get the job done," Nikas said.

Sunday-s clash with Melbourne Victory will be the 4th competitive clash between the two clubs and the first this season.

Previous Meetings

Sat 11 Oct 2008 - Central Coast Mariners 2 Melbourne Victory 1, Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford Sat 22 Nov 2008 - Central Coast Mariners 1 Melbourne Victory1, Bob Jane Stadium, Melbourne Sat 17 Jan 2009 - Central Coast Mariners 2 Melbourne Victory 1, Epping Soccer Stadium, Melbourne

Melbourne Victory Youth: Aziz BEHICH (c), Matthew DEMO, Diogo FERREIRA, Stephen HATZIKOSTAS, Antonio LA VERDE, Sebastian MATTEI (gk), Bradley NORTON, Stefaan SARDELIC (gk), Craig SWEENEY, Simon TOLLI, Tedros YABIO *four to be included*

Unavailable: Petar FRANJIC (international duty), Luke PILKINGTON (stress fractures - 1 week), Kliment TASESKI (international duty)

Central Coast Mariners squad: Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), Nik MATIC (gk), Shane HUKE (OA), Ahmad ELRICH (OA), David D'APUZZO (OA), Manny GIANNAROS, Nathan SHERLOCK, Matthew LEWIS, Panny NIKAS, Brady SMITH, Nick FITZGERALD, Brendan GRIFFIN, David GULLO, Gavin FORBES, Mitchell MALLIA, Luka DUKIC.? *one to be omitted*??

Unavailable: Dylan MACALLISTER (return to first team), Andrew CLARK (return to first team), Brad PORTER (return to first team), Matthew RYAN (not selected)

Referee: Lucien Laverdure

The Central Coast Mariners National Youth League team is in action this Sunday, 8th November when it takes on Melbourne Victory FC at Veneto Club, Melbourne. Kickoff is at 2pm.

Mariners Memberships for the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season are available online at or by phoning 1300 767 442.