The change in style for the Central Coast Mariners this season has so far arguably been the difference.

Starting the season with two 1-1 draws against opposition tipped to make the top six, Mike Mulvey’s men are showing signs of resilience that have been lacking in recent years.

Averaging just 38.5% possession so far and conceding 44 shots in two games, Mulvey will be pleased with the character his side have showed to walk away from both matches with 1-1 draws.

These are the kind of matches Central Coast would have arguably lost last campaign and the seasons before – but not this year.

Kalifa Cisse and Anthony Golec have formed a solid partnership in the centre of defence, with Clisby and Rowles working tirelessly in the fullback roles.

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It was an important change as well for the Mariners, who have been one of the leakiest defences in the league in recent years.

Signing experienced men Cisse and Clisby this season has been key to forming a solid defensive backline.

Youngster Kye Rowles has taken his opportunities at right-back with both hands, with a stand-out feature of his game being his defensive cover and last-ditch defending.

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Mulvey has instilled a winning mentality amongst the playing group, and that much is obvious simply by watching the team play.

There are clear examples from the opening two weeks where the Central Coast look motivated to keep a clean sheet – or to limit the damage to just one goal despite the oppositions dominance in possession.

That mentality has been missing from Mariners sides in recent times, and it’s a refreshing mentality to see them have.

They seem intent on making their opposition’s night very difficult, and they’ve achieved just that in the opening rounds of the season.

Life won’t be getting any easier for the so-far resilient Mariners, though, as they host Adelaide United next week before a trip away to Melbourne Victory.

Mulvey’s men will certainly be tested, but you can guarantee they won’t go down without a fight.

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Media student at Macquarie University. Loves everything football (well, except Italian's diving since '06).