Michael Neill talks Mariners Youth

CENTRAL Coast Mariners National Youth League defender Michael Neill caught up with ccmariners.com.au ahead of the junior Mariners’ Round 9 contest against Melbourne Heart Youth at the Centre of Excellence, Tuggerah on Saturday afternoon.

CENTRAL Coast Mariners National Youth League defender Michael Neill caught up with ccmariners.com.au ahead of the junior Mariners- Round 9 contest against Melbourne Heart Youth at the Centre of Excellence, Tuggerah on Saturday afternoon.

Michael, it was the second loss of the season for the Mariners last weekend, a 4-3 defeat to Newcastle. What were your thoughts on the team-s performance? Our performance in the first half was pretty weak to be honest. Considering we didn-t have many senior boys, we didn-t have much guidance from the back line moving forward. We came out in the second half and turned it around a bit but it was a pretty poor performance on our behalf.

You scored your first goal of the campaign in last weekend-s junior F3 Derby, obviously happy to get off the mark? Definitely. Playing as a left winger or a left wing back it-s not very often I-ll get up the front, but you have to make the most of your opportunities once you are up there.

It-s been a great start to the season for the boys. What have you made of the start? I think as a team and probably from a coaching perspective, we-ve won most of our games so far, two losses from eight games is pretty good to be honest. The boys are still improving, we-re still taking things out of the games and we are looking to turn them into positives.

We-re up to Round 9 of the NYL. It-s second versus third with Melbourne Heart Youth heading to Tuggerah. How is everyone feeling - confident and ready to go? Absolutely. After last week-s performance in the first half, we were probably a bit let down with how we played. The second half we turned it around and during the week we have worked on those let downs at training and hopefully we can come out tomorrow with the win.

Melbourne has also started the season well, you obviously played them in Round 2 and were victorious on that occasion. What are you expecting from them this time? Looking back on our game back in Melbourne, the match could have gone either way and they had a young squad at the time. I know they will be coming to the Central Coast and they will be looking for the three points as well, so it-s going to be a tough match.

Finally, what are your thoughts on John McLafferty in his first season in charge? As a coach, you have to look at it as a positive; we-ve only lost two games, which is really good. The training has been great. Not only is he a coach, he is a mentor as well. He is always there to give guidance, not just during training but we-re able to speak to him about what we can improve on and if we have any problems, we can talk to him about that. He-s always there to help us and guide us.

Central Coast Youth play their next match against Melbourne Heart Youth on Saturday 15 December at the Centre of Excellence, Tuggerah. Kick off is at 2pm.