On Saturday morning, the Central Coast Mariners Youth host their first home game of the Foxtel National Youth League campaign. They take on the Western Sydney Wanderers Youth – kick-off is 10:30am and entry is FREE at the Central Coast Mariners Centre of Excellence, Tuggerah.
Head Coach Wayne O’Sullivan hasn’t had much time to work with his players as a collective unit but the early signs are certainly promising.
There is a firm focus on his side’s playing style with the aim to emulate the possession based, attacking strategy of the Hyundai A-League outfit.
One game into the campaign and a come from behind 1-1 draw with the Newcastle Jets Youth, the Mariners next challenge is against the Western Sydney Wanderers Youth who are coming off the back of a convincing 8-0 win over Canberra United.
O’Sullivan credited his side’s ability to quickly embrace the Mariners’ new playing style.
“Going into this season, the major aim was to do as much as we could to replicate the first team’s style of play moving forward,” O’Sullivan said. “We’ve had a lot of support from Ivan Jolic and Paul Okon.
“Last week against the Jets was great and the feedback on the second half in particular was really good. We were very much in control, created a lot of chances to win the game and we were unfortunate not to win it in the end,” O’Sullivan said.
With the likes of Josh Bingham, Trent Buhagiar and Adam Berry getting invaluable game time last week, O’Sullivan was impressed with their influence but says tomorrow against the Wanderers it will be a much younger side.
“I’m very impressed with the players so far,” O’Sullivan said. “We were very fortunate last week to have four boys from the A-League squad, that’s including Lachie Wales who trains full time with the first team and they’ve all had the best part of six months working with Paolo and Ivan on what they want to achieve.
“So, to have those boys on the field literally as facilitators with the ability to guide the younger players around the field was very much to our advantage.
“This week it will be a younger squad with the A-League squad being away from home and on the same day but the reality is, our boys have worked really hard in the short term to establish our playing style,” O’Sullivan said.
Heading into round two against the Wanderers, O’Sullivan says that it will be interesting to see the influence of new Hyundai A-League Head Coach Josep Gombau’s playing style on the youth team.
“Fortunately, with the professionalism of the Y-League we are all able to watch video of each other which is a huge benefit in comparison of the NPL where it’s harder to get footage,” O’Sullivan said. “With Gombau going in there, similar to ourselves, they’ve got a Head Coach who wants to do things his way which will filter down into the Youth Team so it’s really interesting going into a game like this knowing that they will be going through a change in football style as well,” O’Sullivan said.
O’Sullivan was full of praise for his young side, but gave special plaudits to former Brisbane City midfielder, Josh Nisbet.
“Without being too cliché there were several standout performers last week against Newcastle,” O’Sullivan said. “Our A-League boys did particularly well, people like Jack Kuipers, Michael Glassock, Aidan Munford, Lewis Miller all did great jobs.
“Josh Nisbet was probably our best player on the day – he was fantastic in every area of the game. For what he lacks in size, he makes up for in hear and most importantly ability. He’s a fantastic player and by the end of the game he was probably the most unpopular player to the Jets team because he was fabulous,” O’Sullivan said.
Central Coast Mariners Youth vs. Western Sydney Wanderers Youth
Saturday, 25 November 2017
Central Coast Mariners Centre of Excellence, Tuggerah