It’s M1 Derby week and the Mariners’ final home game of the year is shaping up to be an epic, face-saving, battle against the Newcastle Jets at Central Coast Stadium on Sunday, April 9.
Central Coast Mariners must win the derby to avoid this year’s Toilet Brush (wooden spoon) as Newcastle Jets remain two points ahead of the Coast at the bottom of the A-League table. There’s no relegation or promotion in Australian football, but both teams are expected to fight to avoid coming last on the 2017 ladder. The top six is now decided and there’s no chance for Newcastle, Adelaide or Wellington to make the finals, so the last two rounds of the competition are definitely about pride.
The announcement of Storm Roux’s contract extension with the Central Coast Mariners should buoy the home side. Roux has been signed for two more years at the Mariners, his new contract taking him through to the end of the 2018-19 A-League season. The fi nal score against Brisbane Roar in round 25 did not refl ect the fact that, at least for the fi rst 45 minutes, the Central Coast Mariners played with confi dence and dominance.
The Central Coast Mariners also need a win at home, having only enjoyed two home crowd victories this year out of 13 home games – not a great track record for a season that was supposed to be about rebuilding on and off the fi eld. According to the A-League’s form ladder, the Mariners are slightly ahead of their northern rivals. The Mariners have travelled to Newcastle twice this season and have returned home both times with points, three in the fi rst round and a point for the draw on February 26. Scott Galloway was the hero of the February match when the left back took a shot off a corner from outside the 18 yard box and scored. He struck the ball with the inside of his right foot straight past the Newcastle goalie to level the scores and give the Mariners a point for the trip home. The home crowd will be looking for strong attacks from the likes of Ferreira and Pain. Ferreira’s goal through the middle against Brisbane Roar was a memorable moment that displayed his attacking prowess.
The home crowd will also be hoping Coach Paul Okon also gives young hopefuls Appiah and Bingham the chance to star in the fi nal home game of the season, as both have shown such commitment and promise in recent matches. Aleksadr Kokko remains Newcastle’s danger man.
Source: Website, Apr 5, 2017 Tyson Scott, Central Coast Mariners Website, Apr 5, 2017 Hyundai A-League ladder and match reports