The Central Coast Mariners are back at home this Saturday, hosting Brisbane Roar. Kick-off is 7:50pm and we caught up with Head Coach Paul Okon after the team’s Australia Day training session.
It’s a crucial battle for the Mariners who currently sit three points out of the top six and face back-to-back home games against the eighth placed Brisbane Roar and sixth placed Western Sydney Wanderers.
After an impressive performance against the ladder-leaders, Sydney FC last week away from home that ended in a 1-1 draw, Paul Okon says the focus is on consistency and replicating that performance.
Brisbane are coming off the back of a disappointing dismissal from the AFC Champions League on Tuesday evening and will be looking to bounce back with a win in the Hyundai A-League.
DON'T FORGET, we have a new BIG SCREEN and it's first order of business will be the screening a FIFA 18 match between two of the Coast’s best electronic gamers. The match will determine who the Mariners' Official E-League competitor is. Gates will open earlier at 6:30pm and fans are invited into the stadium to watch the FIFA battle on the big screen.
Paolo in the Press
(Big game on Saturday night…)
“Yeah, absolutely – it’s a game that we’re looking forward to,” Okon said. “Last week the performance was excellent and the challenge now is to repeat that, have the same energy and intensity that we showed.
“We’re at home, we expect to perform again because if we do that there’s a good chance we can claim three points.
(Brisbane’s Champions League exit…)
“Whenever we prepare for an opponent we do our analysis and look at their recent performances,” Okon said. “Every team plays differently against various oppositions so we are quite confident we know how the Roar will set up against us and what they will try and do when they have the ball and when they don’t have the ball.
“The fact that they got knocked out may work in their favour and motivate them more. We can control the way we’ve prepared this week and certainly the way we expect to play tomorrow.
“Connor Pain is still in rehab and we’re hopeful that he will be back in two weeks’ time. We knew January was going to be a tough month for us, again, we’d hoped to have more points to show from it but we’re confident with what’s coming up for us that there’s points on offer for us. It’s a question of us going out there and making sure we stay in the game and in the key moments we’re better in.
“We know we have got goals in us, there’s no doubt about that. For us, it’s about trying to execute that.
(The defensive partnership of Baro & Golec…)
“The whole back four have been great all season,” Okon said. “We’ve certainly improved that aspect of our game but we defend really well from up top, our front two always work hard and our midfield close gaps when we don’t have the ball.
“As a defender if the people in front of you are doing their job, defending becomes easier. Last week was an example where we gave Sydney virtually nothing and that needs to continue each week irrespective of the opponent.
(Skapetis facing his old club…)
“It’s always strange and at the same time special when you come up against your old club,” Okon said. “Pete was only half a season there but he will want to have his say on the game tomorrow and play his part. Hopefully if he does get his opportunity he won’t disappoint.
(Olyroos return to the Coast…)
“The feedback we’ve had from China is that they were two of the fittest boys [De Silva & Buhagiar]. It makes us proud that we deliver our players for national teams in the best shape possible and it’s great to have them back,” Okon said.
- In only one of their last seven games at Central Coast Stadium have the Mariners trailed at half-time, though they’ve gone on to win just two matches in that span (D3, L2).
- Brisbane Roar have won two of their last three games away from home, conceding just two goals in that span.
- Central Coast Mariners have conceded just seven first-half goals this season, fewer than any other team in the competition.
- Brisbane Roar are the only side yet to record a goal which followed an error this season.
- 17 of the last 22 goals scored between the Mariners and Roar in the A-League have come in the second half of matches.
- Antony Golec has blocked five shots at goal so far in 2018, more than any other player 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, 8.Blake POWELL, 10.Danny De SILVA, 12.Trent BUHAGIAR, 13.Kwabena APPIAH, 15.Alan BARO (c), 16.Liam ROSE, 20.Adam PEARCE (gk), 22.Jacob MELLING, 23.Wout BRAMA, 24.Lachlan WALES, 27.Peter SKAPETIS
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 12.Trent BUHAGIAR (return from international duty), 23.Wout BRAMA (return from injury )
Unavailable: 11.Connor PAIN (hamstring injury), 21.Kye ROWLES (foot injury)
Brisbane Roar Squad
Goalkeepers: 21.Jamie YOUNG, 31.Brendan WHITE
Defenders: 2.Dane INGHAM, 4.Daniel BOWLES, 5.Corey BROWN, 6.Avram PAPADOPOULOS, 13.Jade NORTH, 19.Jack HINGERT
Midfielders: 7.Thomas KRISTENSEN, 10.Brett HOLMAN, 16.Mitchell OXBORROW, 17.Matt MCKAY (c)
Attackers: 9.Massimo MACCARONE, 11.Corey GAMEIRO, 20.Shannon BRADY, 22.Eric BAUTHEAC, 36.Daniel LECK, 77.Ivan FRANJIC
Ins: 2.Dane INGHAM (promoted), 4.Daniel BOWLES (promoted), 5.Corey BROWN (promoted), 13.Jade NORTH (returns from injury), Shannon BRADY (promoted)
Outs: 3.Luke DEVERE (hamstring – 2-4 weeks), 14.Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH (suspended – 1 match), 24.Connor O’TOOLE (foot – 1 week)
Unavailable: 1.Michael THEO (gk) (finger – 2 weeks), 18.Joe CALETTI (foot – 10 weeks), 26.Nick D’AGOSTINO (ankle – 1 week)
Saturday, 27 January 2018
Hyundai A-League Round 18
Match: Central Coast Mariners vs. Brisbane Roar
Venue: Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
Kick-off: 7:50pm (AEDT)
Tickets: CLICK HERE
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS AUSTRALIA 501 & One HD
Hash-tag: Join the match conversation using #CCMvBRI & #CCMFC