IT’S hard to believe the third regular season since Graham Arnold arrived at the club is now behind us.
IT-S hard to believe the third regular season since Graham Arnold arrived at the club is now behind us.
While I-m not one to reflect on things until the job is done and the annual holidays kick in, there are some statistics that are too definitive to go past in the lead-up to the finals.
The Mariners, under ‘Arnie-, are the first team in A-League history to finish in the top two three years running and the first team to pass the 50-point mark three years running.
We have qualified for a grand final, a preliminary final and are one win away from a second grand final in those three years.
We have bettered our for and against (48 scored, 22 conceded from 27 games) from last season and we set out to reach 52 points this season (we finished on 51 last year and 57 the year before).
It took a rampant Brisbane Roar side that went 33 games undefeated two seasons ago and a Western Sydney Wanderers outfit with six foreigners that won 34 of a possible 36 points in the run home this season to prevent us winning a hat-trick of Premier-s Plates.
In anyone-s terms it has been an overwhelming success and one the players especially should be very proud of. They are the ones who walk out on to that field every week and play their hearts out for the shirt.
Their attitude publicly and behind closed doors is second to none - they truly are a pleasure to work with day in, day out.
But success comes from the top and while I know he-s going to chip me for writing this, ‘Arnie- deserves massive credit for what the team has achieved since his arrival.
He is the complete package when it comes to coaching and managing with his experience with the national teams standing him in great stead for a successful return to club coaching.
Let-s not forget there were plenty waiting for him to fail when he signed at the Mariners. Those close to him knew much better!
He has put the doubters to sleep with a comprehensive knockout blow, becoming the A-League-s most consistently successful coach over a three-year period regardless of what happens in the upcoming finals.
His willingness to delegate responsibility and give players and staff ownership of what they are doing - while always having a firm handle himself on anything and everything - is a great strength of his.
Some $3.5 million worth of playing talent have realized their dreams of going abroad in the last three seasons, Michael McGlinchey has gone to a World Cup and an Olympic Games with New Zealand and is now arguably one of the best players in the competition, Maty Ryan, Tom Rogic and Rostyn Griffiths have played for or been involved with the Qantas Socceroos and I-ve lost count of the number of NAB Young Footballer of the Month (and Year) awards the club has won.
All of the above is why we can move forward with great confidence into a massive fortnight for the club with two ACL games against Guizhou Renhe (home and away) and a sudden-death semi-final on April 14 for a place in the Grand Final.
It-s exactly how we like it at the Mariners and everyone is at the top of their game to give it our best shot.
Speaking of shots, how good is ‘The Code - Life With The Mariners”!
Screening each Wednesday night on Fox Sports (7.30pm), the behind-the-scenes expose on the club has been met with rave reviews around the country.
Full credit to producer Nick Piper and his team for an amazing job and to Central Coast Tourism for their belief and foresight in coming on board with the project.
It promises to be something everyone involved can be extremely proud of!