The report card is in! The Football Sack critiques the Central Coast Mariners after their dreadful 2017/18 season.

This Season

A-League: 10th

FFA Cup: Round of 32

Season Summary

The Mariners ended the campaign in 10th place and collected the wooden spoon for the second time in three seasons. Despite showing glimpses of improvement in the early stages of the competition they deservedly finished bottom of the pile.

However, they did enjoy a promising start to their campaign with their 2-0 win over league leaders Sydney FC causing shockwaves around the A-League at the time.

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By the end of round nine, Central Coast were sitting in fourth place after collecting 9 points from out of a possible 12 on offer.

Soon after, Paul Okon’s side began to falter with cracks appearing in their new style of play and they went on to win just one of their remaining 18 matches following their victory against Perth Glory in early December.

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With clear unrest throughout the club and plenty of issues on and off the field, Okon departed the club in March, leaving academy coach Wayne Sullivan in charge for the rest of the season.

Sullivan was unable to secure a win during his time as caretaker coach and his rein came to an end in the worst possible fashion.

Their 8-2 capitulation against Newcastle Jets in the last match of the season was one of the lowest points in the club’s history.

That defeat summed up the Mariners’ predicament and sent a harsh reminder to the Mariners’ hierarchy that their current approach simply is not working.

Areas in need of improvement

Central Coast’s promising new recruits failed to have the desired impact, defensively the side were at shambles and their output in the attacking third was horrifically poor.

The club managed just 28 goals over the course of the campaign and scored the least goals out of any side in the league.

Former coach Okon was praised for the new signings that arrived at the beginning of the campaign with Dutch duo Wout Brama and Tom Hiariej and Spanish pair Alan Baro and Asdrubal headlining the club’s revamped roster.

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Despite Okon working under a shoestring budget, it appeared that he had mastered the club’s recruitment drive.

While the Dutch duo may have added more creativity to Central Coast’s midfield it was up front where most of the problems lied.

Spanish striker Asdrubal scored twice throughout the first half of the campaign before departing the Mariners, citing homesickness as the reason behind his abrupt departure.

Without a ready-made replacement, Central Coast were unable to rely on the goal scoring feats of an individual like they had done previously with Roy O’Donovan.

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With four goals each to their names, Blake Powell and Connor Pain tied as the club’s leading marksmen for the 2017/18 season. Hardly an encouraging statistic!

Defensively, the Mariners were prone to individual errors with Baro and Antony Golec liable to being caught out from time to time.

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They did not have the worst defensive record in the competition however their lack of goals in the final third placed further strain on the backline.

Top Student

Daniel De Silva has been the shining light in a faltering Central Coast outfit. The 21-year-old notched three goals throughout the campaign and provided a host of assists for his teammates.

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The attacking midfielder often slotted in up front and proved that he could be a threat in various areas across the attacking third.

Constantly being rumoured for a call-up to the Socceroos squad, De Silva kept his head down throughout the campaign and continued to add the much-needed spark and creativity to his under-performing team.

Grade: F

Outlook

After their humiliating 8-2 defeat, it is hard to say that the situation could get any worse.

If Chairman Michael Charlesworth does not decide to spend then the Mariners will not be able to break away from the losing cycle that they have become accustomed to.

The appointment of former Brisbane Roar coach Mike Mulvey is a step in the right direction and if he is given the right support and appropriate funding then he may able to turn the club around and return them to their former glory days.

The upcoming preseason is arguably the most crucial in the Mariners’ history – recruiting well while re-engaging the fanbase will be represent a movement in the right direction.

Continue treating the club like a profit seeking enterprise will most likely see a repeat of last season and increase the likelihood of securing back-to-back wooden spoons.

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Studying Journalism at UTS. Obsessed with football and a die hard supporter of Sydney FC and Liverpool FC in the EPL