NPL Previews: Pluim to host women’s & men’s academy

If you’re looking for a football fix this Sunday, look no further than Pluim Park as both the Women and Men’s academy host their respective opponents.

Central Coast Mariners Academy Women vs. Western NSW Mariners FC

Dan Barrett’s high-flying women’s team will be kicking off their season with a home game against Western NSW Mariners who will be looking to improve from their lowly finish last season.

After a strong pre-season which featured a 2-1 win over NPL 1 outfit North Shore Mariners, the women are raring to go but will unfortunately be without some key players, including star striker Candice Phelan who is still recovering from her injury.

Barrett will be eager to see his squad go one further than last year as the women look to bounce on from last season’s grand final defeat.

“We have spent pre-season adding layers to the style of play we had so much success with last season,” Barrett said. “We understand this season our opposition will be wary of us. It was important that we took our own style of play up a notch to give our opponents new concerns to deal with when they play us.

“We have a lot of respect for our opponents. From memory, they finished the season off strong. There is no doubt we will be missing a lot of experience for round one with Katie Oliveria, Candice Phelan and Mel Young all missing.

“Expect an aggressive style of play. I hope to impose our own style on our opponents. We have worked on having a lot more possession. I want us to take the initiative in each match and play on the front foot. It’s still a work in progress but like last year I expect to be at our true best when it counts,” Barrett said.

Match Details
Sunday, 10 March 2019
NSW NPL 2 Round 1
Match:
Central Coast Mariners Academy vs. Western NSW Mariners FC
Venue: Pluim Park, Lisarow
Kick-off: 2:05pm

Central Coast Mariners Academy vs. Western Sydney Wanderers FC

After a respectable result away to last season's Champions (St George FC) in round one, the men’s academy return to Pluim to host Foxtel Y-League Grand Finalists, Western Sydney Wanderers Academy.

The boys will be determined to carry on with the momentum they can take from a tough draw away from home and will fancy their chances as the Wanderers have not won at Pluim before.

Ray Junna was happy with the amount of chances the boys were able to create, even when they reduced to ten men and is looking forward to a difficult Wanderers’ challenge.

Key players in Junna’s squad have been rewarded with an A-League call up and this means a chance for younger players to get a chance in first grade and try impress Junna.

The Wanderers are coming off a 2-1 victory over the North Shore Mariners and hope to continue the good form they showed at home.

“It was a solid first match of the season against last year’s Grand Final winners,” Junna said. “An unfortunate and a harsh decision against Bilal saw him sent off after 60 minutes, we were very comfortable up to that point. We still created a number of chances and we had a great chance inside the six-yard box with just the keeper to beat in the dying minutes but did not take our chance.

“The Wanderers this weekend will be a tough match as they are well organised and well drilled. We might see some younger players stepping up into the first grade with some of the NPL players getting a chance in the A-League match against Wellington this weekend,” Junna said.

Match Details
Sunday, 10 March 2019
NSW NPL 2 Round 2
Match: Central Coast Mariners Academy vs. Western Sydney Wanderers FC
Venue: Pluim Park, Lisarow
Kick-off: 4:00pm