NPL Previews: Mariners Academy in red-hot form

It’s been a very successful month for our Mariners academy with the Men’s & Women’s teams both undefeated in their past four and six games respectively. This Sunday the men host Rydalmere at Pluim whilst our girls are on the road to APIA Leichhardt.


Central Coast Mariners Academy vs. Rydalmere Lions FC

After now having played every team in the competition, the Mariners Academy senior men sit atop the Club Championship where they are 32 points clear of the second placed Mt Druitt Town Rangers.

This week, the Mariners Academy host the side they played in Round 1 after last week sealing a morale boosting, last-minute win over Hills United thanks to a stoppage time strike by Emmanuel Peters.

The first-grade team boast winning run of four games on the trot which sees them sit in second place on the league ladder.

Ahead of the team’s second game against Rydalmere this season, we caught up with Will Vazquez.

“Last week’s match vs. Hills was a real battle that tested the group all the way to the end,” Vazquez said. “They posed some challenges that greatly resemble what it takes to step in to senior football causing some real instability for the players throughout the match, applying pressure in a variety of ways.

“Special mention has to be made for the kids and their families that came to watch the match, as many of the boys mentioned throughout the week this gave them encouragement during the match.

“Once again, all of these factors provided a great learning opportunity for the group, and will be a real clear point of reference for them as they inevitably face similar challenges moving forward.

“The week’s preparation has been very competitive as we move back to a fully fit squad creating some very healthy competition for spots. Rydalmere were one of the teams we struggled with in the first round, so this will be a great chance to measure the progress made so far,” Vazquez said.

Match Details
Sunday, 3 June 2018
NPL 2 NSW Men's Round 14
Match
: Central Coast Mariners Academy vs. Rydalmere Lions FC
Venue: Pluim Park No. 1, Lisarow
Kick-off: 3pm



APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC Women vs. Central Coast Mariners Academy Women

Dan Barrett’s PS4 NPL 2 side are also flying and have taken maximum points from their last six games. It was that form that resulted in a thumping 11-0 win over St George.

15-year-old Iona Snape scored a hat-trick whilst Candice Phelan’s impressive goalscoring run continued – scoring her 24th goal in just 12 games.

The women’s program as a whole sit third in Club Championship standings and the first grade side have climbed to second spot on the league ladder behind Sydney Olympic.

We caught up with Head Coach Dan Barrett ahead of the clash. 

"The test last week for our girls was to continue the momentum and maintain the high standard of performance that we have delivered in past weeks,” Barrett said. “Sometimes when playing opponents below you on the ladder this can be difficult but I was extremely happy with the performance our girls put in, matching the standards and intensity from past weeks.

"This weekend’s matches against APIA is more about the club rather than the team. Six points in both grades would see the club move into second place in the Club Championship.

"I have seen so many improvements in the Academy space since joining here and it’s a credit to the coaches and players. These efforts have propelled the Academy into a position where promotion is not off the cards. So, I have been urging all senior staff and players to go for it.

"It will be extremely difficult of course. It was a tough game last time round and I know they will be looking to square the ledger after we got the points. APIA have shown their intent with four new signings in the last transfer window. Players I know that will help their cause.

"For us, we are in a good spot right now. Full of confidence and understanding of how we win games. One thing I certainly feel that we have on all our opponents is a great team harmony. Everyone does the work. There is no reliance on any player. We all do the hard work and are happy to do it. APIA will be in for a tough match this Sunday. The team and myself are certainly up for it,” Barrett said.

Match Details
Sunday, 3 June 2018
NPL 2 NSW Men's Round 13
Match
: APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC Women vs. Central Coast Mariners Academy Women
Venue: Lambert Park, Leichhardt
Kick-off: 7pm