Paul Okon Previews Wanderers Clash

The Central Coast Mariners will be looking to bounce back on Saturday evening when they face the Western Sydney Wanderers and we caught up with Head Coach Paul Okon after the team’s final training session of the week.

An away battle against the Western Sydney Wanderers at Spotless Stadium on Saturday will provide the perfect opportunity for the Mariners to return with strength after a tough #F3Derby to open the season.

Last season Spotless was a happy hunting ground for the Mariners who broke a five-game drought against the Wanderers with a 2-0 victory over Western Sydney in their last meeting, which saw ‘Paolo’ leap into the player celebration after the second goal in a true moment of triumph.

Against the Jets Asdrubal took only five minutes to score, and in tandem with Danny De Silva and Kwabena Appiah, the striker looked in form to shake any defensive unit in the Hyundai A-League.

For the Wanderers’ in the opening round, they earned a 2-1 win against Perth Glory, with goals to Oriol Riera and Jumpei Kusukami in the first half enough to clinch three points despite a last-minute own goal to Brendan Hamill.  

Over their three encounters last season, the Wanderers and the Mariners each took home a win, a loss and a draw. For their first meeting of the new season, the rivalry that started back in 2012 will heat back up for an intense night of football, as both teams look to take the three points and climb up the ladder.

Paolo in the press

“Western Sydney Wanderers have strength in their attack, we’re aware of that and we have to deal with it,” Okon said. “It’s not something that we’re only going to face once or twice this season, its every week in the A-League.

“Bonevacia had a great start to the season last week, with his link up with Riera. He’s certainly a danger for us. We know that at times that they’re going get on the ball and do their stuff, it’s about minimising it when it does happen and defending as best as we can

“The Wanderers are a team that like to dominate with the ball. They keep possession well, they have good exciting players up top and they work you and move you around. We know that when we have possession we have to keep it. I think it’s an exciting time for us. It’s a good test, the second game of the season away.

Okon spoke highly of veteran defender Josh Rose, who is set to make his 200th A-League starting appearance on Saturday.

“Rose has been a great player in the A-League, 200 games is a great effort. He’s still at the level where he can compete and that’s a testament to him, it shows just what a professional he is. He’s won a title, he’s nearly notched those 200 games for one club, and we’re really proud that the 200th game will be with the Central Coast Mariners. Hopefully we can get the win for Josh.

Speaking briefly about the round one result, Okon remained confident in the team’s ability to take on the Wanderers.

“It was hard to take that we ended up losing 5-1,” Okon said. “We were good in certain moments of the game and we were poor in other moments.

“Against any A-League side you will get punished if you do that.  We’re not looking too much into that result. Either way, had we had won the derby or lost, each week presents a different challenge and this week it’s the Wanderers, and we’re ready,” Okon said.

Opta Stat-Attack

  • The Mariners picked up a 20 victory when these teams last met, snapping a five-game winless run against the Wanderers (D1, L4).
  • This will be the third meeting between these teams at Spotless Stadium, with Central Coast undefeated in their previous two encounters there (W1, D1)
  • Joshua Rose is poised to make his 200th ALeague starting appearance, becoming just the ninth outfield player to do so.
  • Tom Hiariej ranked second highest in chances created and assists after round one
  • The Wanderers have won their last three games at Spotless Stadium after going winless in their first six games at the venue
  • The Wanderers (4.1%) and Mariners (3.9%) made a higher percentage of their total touches in the opposition box in Round 1, more than any other teams in the competition.

Central Coast Mariners squad: 1.Ben KENNEDY (gk), 2.Storm ROUX, 3.Josh ROSE, 4.Jake McGING, 5.Antony GOLEC, 6.Tom HIARIEJ, 7.Andrew HOOLE, 9.ASDRUBAL, 10.Daniel De SILVA, 11.Connor PAIN, 12.Trent BUHAGIAR, 13.Kwabena APPIAH, 14.Adam BERRY, 15.Alan BARO (c), 16. Liam ROSE, 17.Josh BINGHAM, 18.Tom GLOVER (gk), 23.Wout BRAMA
**Two to be omitted**

Ins: 2.Storm ROUX (return from injury), 7.Andrew HOOLE (return from suspension)
Outs: nil

Unavailable: 21.Kye ROWLES (knee – 1 week)

Western Sydney Wanderers FC squad: 3.Jack CLISBY, 4.Josh RISDON, 5.Brendan HAMILL, 6.Jacob MELLING, 7.Steven LUSTICA, 8.Roly BONEVACIA, 9.Oriol RIERA, 10.Àlvaro CEJUDO, 11.Brendon SANTALAB, 14.Jumpei KUSUKAMI, 15.Kearyn BACCUS, 18.Robert CORNTHWAITE, 19.Mark BRIDGE, 20.Vedran JANJETOVIC (gk), 24.Raúl LLORENTE, 25.Chris HERD, 30.John HALL, 33.Michael THWAITE
**two to be omitted**

Ins: 4.Josh RISDON (returns from international duty), 6.Jacob MELLING (promoted)
Outs: Nil
Unavailable: 1.Jerrad TYSON (shoulder – indefinite

Match Details
Saturday, 14 October 2017
Hyundai A-League Round 2
Match: Western Sydney Wanderers vs. Central Coast Mariners
Venue: Spotless Stadium, Sydney Olympic Park
Kick-off: 5:35pm
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS AUSTRALIA 501
Hash-tag: Join the match conversation using #WSWvCCM & #CCMFC