Mariners Head Coach Alen Stajcic believe that back-to-back wins for the Mariners have laid a good foundation for the season ahead, after a resilient win over Macarthur after a short turnaround.
Goals to Danny DeSilva and Jordan Smylie gave the Mariners a 2-0 win on Sunday in Campbelltown against their highly fancied opponents, kicking off just 67 hours after the finish of the 1-0 #F3Derby win on Thursday against Newcastle.
Speaking post-game on Sunday, Stacic told reporters it was a win built on strength and resilience from the group.
“For me personally it’s a relief but for the club, it’s just rewards for the hard work that’s been done behind the scenes,” he said.
“There’s a lot that’s gone on here for a small club with limited resources, to come up against the Bulls with all their resources, albeit a new club, for us to fight and scrap and the resilience and heart and spirit, it just shows what a football club can do to overcome the odds.”
“Add into that a two-day turnaround, it’s a tremendous effort from the group. It’s two games down, and 24 to go, and I’m really proud of the group, but it’s a long road ahead.”
The win also marked back-to-back clean sheets for the Mariners for the first time since early in the 2017/18 season and Stajcic praised his young backline and in particular Ruon Tongyik.
“Ruon for me last year struggled to play two good games in a row, he was hot and cold,” Stajcic said.
“He’s had a great pre-season; he’s been one of the best workers in pre-season and for him to get the reward of two great back to back performances is great.
“With Rowlesy, at such a young age to be leading a team from CB and when you throw a Lewis Miller, he’s 20, we really are young and inexperienced and in front of them, Gianni Stessness who is only 21.”
“Across that backline they’re so young and that’s where the communication and leadership from Oli and Birraz is so critical and that’s really the part of the team that’s improved this year.”
Stajcic continued his talk about the leadership group though, in particular the grit and strength that Oliver Bozanic has brought to the group since arriving prior to the post-COVID period of last season.
“We had a good post-COVID period, and the core of that group is still here,” he said.
“When I brought in someone like Oli Bozanic, it just accelerated the whole process in the team, the leadership within the group.”
“Matt Simon has been a tower of strength off the field and Birraz has stepped up as well.”
“Those people really help fast track, and it has all the core ingredients that make a team as united as what we are at the moment.”
“I’m wary it's two wins and we’re all happy today but it gives us good foundation for the rest of the year.”
Stajcic and his players will now welcome Stefan Jankovic, Marcos Ureña and Michal Janota to the squad later this week as the three visa players exit their hotel quarantine period.
The Mariners do not play again until Tuesday, 19th January when the Wanderers come to town, and preparations for the visitors will begin this week.