NYL: McLafferty talks Mariners Youth

CENTRAL Coast Mariners National Youth League coach John McLafferty caught up with ccmariners.com.au ahead of the junior Mariners’ Round 17 clash against Sydney FC Youth at Cromer Park, Dee Why on Sunday afternoon.

CENTRAL Coast Mariners National Youth League coach John McLafferty caught up with ccmariners.com.au ahead of the junior Mariners- Round 17 clash against Sydney FC Youth at Cromer Park, Dee Why on Sunday afternoon.

It was a 3-1 loss for the boys last weekend in the match against Perth. What were your thoughts on the game and the team-s performance?

Perth came out well in the first ten minutes or so and they had a reasonably strong side. Adrian Zahra was very good in the midfield for them and we were sloppy in the first few minutes in defence, but we improved leading into half time. At the break, we felt we had a good chance at winning that game.

There-s only two games left in the season. Melbourne Victory Youth are in top spot and hold a three-point lead. I guess you are relying on results to go your way and hoping that they slip up, so it-s very important to take maximum points this Sunday…

They are both must-wins. Though in reality, this Melbourne side is one of the best National Youth League teams ever. They are training full-time with the first team squad and that is showing at the end of the season with them coming home strong. We play them next week, the last game of the season and we would like to be close enough to get a result against them that would have some bearing on the title.

We-re up against the junior Sky Blues on Sunday. What-s the feeling like amongst the boys? Is everyone ready to go?

The boys have got their heads up and they are having a good go at training, there is still a lot of competition for places. Sometimes they are disappointed because they don-t get enough game time, but that-s the reality of playing in the National Youth League, you won-t be able to play a full 90 minutes every week. However, the boys are up for the match and they are training well.

It was a 4-2 victory for the Mariners last time the sides met back in Round 3. What are you expecting from Sydney this time?

We-re not sure with Sydney; they have had some changes in their ranks there. I spoke to (Sydney FC Youth Coach) Brian Dene a few weeks ago and they are now using the entire squad instead of sticking to the same eleven players or so. We don-t know how they will line up or who Frank Farina will leave behind for them to use for the match and those things obviously have a bearing on how the game will go.

Finally, the National Youth League is all about youth development and while the team may not ultimately claim the title, there have still been a lot of positives in this campaign. What have been the highlights for you?

At the beginning of the season we spoke to the players and said that when we get to the end of the campaign, you want to be able to stand up and say that was the best we could do collectively and individually. I think David Bradasevic has had a good season, he has done a lot of training with John Crawley and he is one who has moved on substantially. Adam Jenner has also done well; he came stronger at the end of the season. Hayden Morton and Michael Neill have been good and have obviously signed contracts with the first team. Patrick Dixon has also been tidy up front, he has flown under the radar, he is a good player and is one to watch.

Central Coast Mariners Youth face ninth-placed Sydney FC Youth on Sunday 17 February at Cromer Park, Dee Why. Kick-off is 3pm.