Central Coast Mariners Assistant Coach, Wayne O'Sullivan, gives fans an update from the dressing room in his weekly column.
Last week I mentioned that we had a busy period coming up this month with some serious logistical issues to overcome with games in Auckland and Perth against two of the Hyundai A-League’s form teams.
Well one thing for sure: Our trip to Auckland did not disappoint when it came to testing logistical issues!
It started with a four-hour delay at Sydney International Airport last Friday. The plane we were due to depart on was diverted before our takeoff, meaning we arrived extremely late into Auckland on Friday evening, missing our scheduled pre-game training session.
It is normal for teams in the Hyundai A-League to travel interstate or overseas the day before the game, and often to train in their opponent’s city. So, to not only spend extra time waiting around the airport but also miss a critical session was far from ideal in regards to our round 10 prep.
On reflection of our performance last Saturday it became evident early on that our boys were lacking a days training to remove any early rustiness. Consequently we under performed for the first 30 minutes and were careless in possession, which resulted in Phoenix creating several good chances early on.
After some slight adjustments to our defensive shape we managed to gather ourselves and created a good all round team goal finished off by our “Mr Resilience” himself, Matty Simon.
During the second half we limited the opportunities for Phoenix but after losing two players early on due to injury – Nick Montgomery and Zac Anderson – we ran simply out of gas towards the end of the game. Nevertheless, we fought admirably to secure a valuable point.
The point across the ditch felt all the more valuable 24 hours later after we finally arrived home on the Coast after a 14-hour trip that once again saw our plane delayed for another four hours due to mechanical problems!
What is it with the Mariners and Hyundai A-League air travel!?
This week we are preparing to travel to Perth who are currently sitting at the top of the table.
Here's hoping that all our travel arrangements run a little smoother this week and we can prepare properly for such an important game.
Well be training right throughout the festive period as we ready ourselves to take on Brisbane Roar on Saturday 27 December in Gosford. It’s going to be a huge game, with plenty happening on and off the field. Visit the Club’s website or social media channels for more information.
Have a great Christmas!