Central Coast Mariners 2021/22 Season Preview

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New signings and familiar faces brings promise as the Mariners look to build on last season’s impressive performance and break their eight-year trophy drought.

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Last Season…

A-League: 3rd
Finals: Elimination Final

They’ll win the league because…

Most believe last year’s campaign was a fluke following previous years of disappointment. However, new signings who are experienced in finals football atmosphere will only increase the level of competitiveness among the playing group: a component missing in previous years.

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Club legend Nick Montgomery will bring added experience as Head Coach and he will be intent on carrying his National Premier Leagues success into the top grade. Many of the youth players coming into the senior team are prodigies of Montgomery’s stellar NPL2 title win in 2020, so chemistry will be at the helm – leading to all-round success.

They’ll be cellar dwellers because…

Although the Mariners are coming off an impressive goal-scoring campaign, the team have lost some of their standouts. Notable departures include Alou Koul, Jack Clisby, and Daniel De Silva who played valuable roles in the Mariners all-round successes. Filling that void may be difficult.

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The Mariners were also inconsistent at times last season, losing games that were quite winnable against lower-ranked teams. Consistency will be a primary talking point entering the season.

Talk around the water cooler… look smart in front of your colleagues with this valuable piece of information

Among the 53 F3 Derby meetings between the Central Coast Mariners and Newcastle Jets, the Mariners have won 17 to the Jets 18, with 18 draws. Incredibly, a win for the Mariners in round one would see all stats locked at 18.

The off-season brought…

Signings galore to bolster Central Coast’s squad following key exits. Overseas signings in Béni Nkololo, Matheus Moresche, and Cy Goddard join former Western Sydney Wanderer Nicolai Müller to strengthen the attack. Storm Roux returns alongside former Adelaide United defender Noah Smith, with goalkeeper Yaren Sözer added to the mix.

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The Mariners also parted ways with Head Coach Alen Stajcic after two seasons at the club, a key figure in the clubs revival as a top team.

Key Player

Oliver Bozanic. The skipper of the team had an impressive first season back, producing pieces of brilliance that helped secure the Mariners’ first finals birth since 2014. With such a young side, Bozanic’s leadership will be a key element if the Mariners are to carry their winning form into the upcoming season. In matches without Bozanic, the team is significantly worse off: his absence in the 2-0 Elimination Final loss to Macarthur FC being the perfect example.

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One to watch

Lewis Miller. The 21-year-old defender started only one of his 13 matches last season though he solidified the backline when summoned. Miller is one of many players mentored under Nick Montgomery, with the coach believing Miller holds great potential in his playing style – hinting we may see more of Miller during the season.

Miller’s call-up to the Australian U23 side speaks volumes for his potential as a top defender in the league. His tall and solid frame mixed with added game time will cause problems for attackers. He will be one to watch for the upcoming season.

INS: Cy Goddard (Mumbai City FC, Mumbai), Béni Nkololo (Concarneau, France), Nicolai Müller (Western Sydney Wanderers), Yaren Sözer (Perak FC, Malaysia), Storm Roux (Melbourne Victory), Noah Smith (Adelaide United), Matheus Moresche (Geylang International)

OUTS: Jack Clisby, Daniel De Silva, Alou Kuol, Jordan Smylie, Stefan Nigro, Jing Reec, Gianni Stensness, Michal Janota, Stefan Jankovic

Full Squad List

Goalkeepers: Mark Birighitti, Yaren Sözer

Defenders: Maximilien Balard, Daniel Hall, Matthew Hatch, Lewis Miller, Storm Roux, Kye Rowles, Noah Smith, Ruon Tongyik

Midfielders: Oliver Bozanic, Cy Goddard, Nicolai Müller, Joshua Nisbet, Max Ballard

Forwards: Béni Nkololo, Matt Simon, Marco Ureña, Matheus Moresche

Feature image credit: Glenn Pokorny

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Mitchell Roese
Sports enthuse currently studying a Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) at the University of Technology Sydney. Covering the Central Coast Mariners 2021/22 A-League Season

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