Mate against mate, state against state in Rocky

Central Coast Mariners football manager Lawrie McKinna and his old pal, North Queensland Fury boss Ian Ferguson will be in rival dug outs this evening, as their sides clash in a Hyundai A-League pre-season friendly in Rockhampton.

Central Coast Mariners football manager Lawrie McKinna and his old pal, North Queensland Fury boss Ian Ferguson will be in rival dug outs this evening, as their sides clash in a Hyundai A-League pre-season friendly in Rockhampton.

The match marks an historic first ever clash between the two sides, the Central Coast providing the Fury's maiden A-League opposition. It's also the first time McKinna and Ferguson have found themselves on opposite sides.

"Only in training games when the two of us have taken the field, but no, Fergie-s been with me for the last seven years at the Northern Spirit then the Mariners, and we wish him well, but when we-re playing the Fury we-ll be wanting to win. But when they are playing other teams, same as David Mitchell at Perth Glory, I-ve known Mitch for a lot of years, you always look out for their results and you are wanting them to do well against opposition teams," said McKinna.

"It will be funny when I walk out on the park and Fergie, who sat beside me for so many years will be 20 metres down the other side, but I-m sure I-ll still hear him just the same as if he was sitting next to me. It will be strange, it will be funny, but I want to knock him over as I-m sure he-ll be wanting to knock us over, but we-ll shake hands and have a hug after the game."

With temperatures tipping 25 degrees, the match will also give the two squads an accurate taste of conditions similar to those likely to be endured throughout the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season.

The Mariners' confidence is high following a 2-1 victory over Queensland State League side Logan United on Friday, while the Fury eased past another State League side, the Capricorn Cougars 4-0 on the same night.

McKinna has once again vowed to give six players on trial with the club for the tour plenty of game time, as he looks at beefing up his squad ahead of the season.

"We-ve got six triallists and only 11 of our boys with us on the trip. Tonight we-ll start with the six triallists, they all did well the other night, so we-ll start with the six of them and have our boys ready to come on.

"These guys came from the other side of the world at their own expense so we have to have a good a look at them as possible. They all did OK the other night, but OK-s probably not good enough, we need them to stand up and be better than we-ve got, so it will be interesting to see how they go tonight," McKinna said.

Mariners memberships for the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season are now available for purchase online by clicking here