The name Anthony Caceres has been commonly heard in the A-League since he joined the Central Coast Mariners in 2012, a natural progression from playing in their youth team since 2011.

Since he started in the A-League, Caceres has been flagged as a “player to watch”, but it seems like only recently that Anthony Caceres has made us watch.

Image provided by Central Coast Mariners.

His confidence in his own playing ability and style has blossomed since newly-appointed head coach Tony Walmsley stepped into the role of technical director, and he says the difference is the creative license he’s been given on the pitch.

“Since Tony’s come in we’ve played a higher pressing game and I’ve gained the freedom to play higher up the field and express myself in good areas…I’m kind of just playing my natural game more than I was,” Caceres said.

It’s true that the Mariners’ performances since former coach Phil Moss was unceremoniously sacked mid-season have improved; if not in results alone, then in entertainment factor and the quality of football on display.

22-year-old Caceres has come into his own, proving himself an indispensable part of the Mariners’ starting line-up, but he says he’s still got a lot to work on.

“My goal for next year on a personal note is to obviously improve on my weaknesses as a footballer and have a greater influence on the team,” he said.

“Goal scoring is something I’d really like to improve on and get on the score sheet more often, and set up more players.”

It’s true that the Mariners have had a difficult season in front of goal – opportunities have been created but not made the most of, resulting in only 23 goals this season, and a consistent spot in eighth place on the ladder.

“During a lot of the games we’ve fallen short at key moments; whether that’s putting it away or defending a last challenge to stop a goal, maybe quality or composure hasn’t been that good at times,” Caceres said of the Mariners’ shaky season.

Although the central midfielder seems ready to put the struggles of this season behind him, he says it’s the tough times that make the team what it is.

“The strength of the team has always been the unity of the group and we’ve all stuck together through tough times, and this is no different.”

While there are inevitable lows, the team is still eager to finish the season on a high, and Caceres says there is plenty to look forward to.

“The last few weeks have been positive; we’ve put in good performances against good teams and are looking to give the fans a good memory of the season,” he said.

“We’ll be trying to impress and build on our game.”

As for next season, the Mariners have been given a decree to “entertain” from club owner Mike Charlesworth. It was announced on Tuesday that Tony Walmsley will be staying with the Mariners for the 2015/16 season, which seems to be a unanimous decision between the players and the club.

When asked who would be taking over John Hutchinson’s role as captain, Caceres said anyone’s guess was as good as his.

“I’m really not sure – Monty’s currently our vice-captain and he could be a likely choice and I think he’d be great… Liam Reddy also.

“Eddy Bosnar and Josh Rose have been around for a while too, and accomplished some great things for the club.”

Perhaps captaincy isn’t in the cards for next season, but Caceres is certainly forging his role as a cornerstone for the team, and who knows, maybe someday a Mariners legend.

SHARE