NPL Previews: In-form Mariners Academy sides look to continue winning form

Our Mariners Academy sides will be looking to extend their exciting winning runs this weekend, with our third-placed Men's Academy headed to Ilinden Sports Centre in Rockdale where they'll face second-placed St George FC on Saturday night. The Women's Academy are at home on Sunday, hosting the Gladesville Ravens at the International Football School in Kariong at 3pm.

St George FC vs. Central Coast Mariners Academy Men

This week's PS4 NPL2 Men's match between St George FC and the Mariners Academy is a big one for both sides, each keen to close in on ladder leaders Mt Druitt Town Rangers.

The undefeated Central Coast Mariners Academy are coming off two emphatic victories, last week having put six goals past the North Shore Mariners in a 6-1 victory which featured an Emmanuel Peters hat-trick. Prior to the win over North Shore, the Yellow and Navy put four goals past the Rangers - ten goals in two games from our boys sounding a warning to the rest of the competition.

In terms of recent results, St George FC are in similarly stunning form, having disposed of Northern Tigers (5-1) and Blacktown Spartans (6-1) in the last fortnight - however the mid-season transfers of key Spanish pair Juan Carlos Romero and Raul Romero during the week to Mounties Wanderers leaves a huge void in their attacking stocks.

The club sit in first place on the PS4 NPL 2 Club Championship. We caught up with Will Vazquez ahead of the clash:

"Last weekend had a lot of encouraging signs of the work being done during the week, however the group has been very quick to put the result behind us and re-focus for Saturday's match", Vasquez said.

"St George are a very difficult opponent who have had a lot of success in the past few seasons, so will require the group to concentrate in order to ensure they put together a complete performance.

"We are constantly challenging the players to be hungry to learn and develop each week, so whilst last week was a nice indicator of progress, the group is aiming to continually improve and this weekend will provide a great challenge for this."

Match Details
Saturday, 19 May 2018
PS4 NPL 2 Men's Round 12

Match: St George FC vs. Central Coast Mariners Academy
Venue: Ilinden Sports Centre, Rockdale
Kick-off: 7pm (U18's 3pm, U20's 5pm)



Central Coast Mariners Academy Women vs. Gladesville Ravens

Following a tense 2-1 win over UNSW FC, Dan Barrett's women have climbed to second on the PS4 NPL2 Women's competition table.

A brace from the profilic Candice Phelan saw the girls leapfrog APIA Leichhardt Tigers and they now sit four points behind ladder leaders Sydney Olympic. Phelan's pair of goals takes her tally to 20 goals for the season from just ten rounds, eight goals clear of the nearest contender.

Sunday's opponents at IFS are the fourth-placed Gladesville Ravens, who are undefeated in their last four games, most recently picking up a draw at home against APIA last Sunday.

"It's a crucial match this weekend for our First Grade Academy side. A win will put a significant points distance between ourselves and Gladesville who sit currently in fourth spot", said Barrett.

"Last weekend’s match was a stern test for us. We found ourselves in a position where we may of only come away from the match with a point when our performance deserved all 3, but credit to our girls who once again dug deep to find the winner that we truly deserved.

"As we come to the halfway mark of the season praise must go to all our Academy players and coaching staff. We are really starting to develop some exciting young players. One of those youngsters is 15 year old Iona Snape who made her first grade debut and nearly got on the score sheet herself.

"I have my eye on a few of our youngsters currently and if I feel the time is right for them, I will continue to bring those players through to grade and grant them the opportunity of senior football. I am big on bringing players through. I did it at Sydney in the W-League and will always try to open the door for youngsters if it's the right time for them.

"Once again our senior players effort was outstanding. We have come off the back of a hectic schedule of midweek catch up games against the big teams. They have done the Academy proud thus far but we also understand we have won nothing yet and the work must continue in both training and matches.

"Currently there is real competition for places within the senior set up. Picking 11 players to start the match is proving to be a real headache but it’s a good headache to have

"It’s vital that we finish Round 11 with a win. From there we can review our season to date plus our opponents whom now we have all played, then plan for the second half of the season", Barrett concluded.

Match Details
Sunday, 20 May 2018
PS4 NPL 2 Women's Round 11
Match:
Central Coast Mariners Academy Women vs. Gladesville Ravens
Venue: International Football School, Kariong
Kick-off: 3:00pm (action starts with U14's from 8:30am)