Central Coast: Rain hail or shine

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Whatever is thrown at them this season the Central Coast Mariners are on track to take the double; the A-League Premiership and Championship.

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Aren’t they?

Whether it be torrential rain, poor decisions going against them or loss of a star playmaker, Graham Arnold and his motley crew of self proclaimed underdogs have dealt with it swiftly and with resolve. Last night’s stunning 6-2 romp over Postecoglou’s Victory will almost certainly be the catalyst for A-League glory come the end of the season and finals series.

Just look at the table (see right).

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The Mariners are nine points clear of third-placed Victory whom they dispatched so comfortably.

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Second-placed Wanderers, in their debut season, will contest for both titles but end-of-season experience should trump youthful exuberance in this case. Having already won the Premiership twice and being Grand Final Runners Up a whopping three times without victory one would expect CCM will be far more interested in securing the 2012/13 Championship.

Next week’s juicy fixture between Wanderers and Mariners – which is expected to draw the biggest home attendance of the season – will be telling. The contest itself will be highly entertaining and the points on offer are crucial but, perhaps more importantly, should Wanderers defeat the table toppers it could sign another Grand Final failure for the Mariners.

A slight distraction for Central Coast is the upcoming Asian Champions League, beginning this Wednesday against South Korean outfit Suwon Samsung Bluewings. With a couple previous jaunts in the ACL to draw upon and an in form team, expectations are high for Australia’s sole representation and it’s this pressure that may prove too much for the little team that could.

But with so much recent experience at the pointy end of the Hyundai A-League table, it feels unlikely that they will stumble again. Ultimately, the law of averages is on their side.

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Matt Greenlaw
Editor of The Football Sack for three years, Matthew now spends his time sipping merlot whilst watching the reruns of Thursday FC.

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