Covid who? Mariners soldier on amidst untimely interruptions

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Despite a month off from playing due to Covid postponements, Central Coast Mariners continue to impress.

Central Coast sit fifth on the A-League Men table and only five points behind first position despite being two matches behind.

It’s a credit to their resilience as a team though coach Nick Montgomery isn’t too fussed over such interruptions.

“We’ve had the biggest Covid interruptions out of anybody and I think it’s going to carry on throughout the season,” said Montgomery.

“It’s no different to anybody else so we just get on with it.”

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Tuesday evening’s 1-0 FFA Cup semi-final victory over Sydney FC booked their first appearance in the final since the competition began.

The hoodoo is finally broken following three years of semi-final heartbreak and the side will be hoping to land a home final in due course.

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There is no better feeling than playing a home final, something defender Kye Rowles is dreaming about.

“I feel like it would be something amazing for the community,” said Rowles.

“We managed to have a home final last year and everyone involved saw how big of an occasion it was for the club.

“It’s a silverware game so it will be even greater so if we can get the home final it would be amazing.”

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Central Coast’s resilience has been acknowledged further with Rowles’ call-up for Socceroos duties in the coming weeks.

Although their backline has an average age of 21.25, Rowles has taken on a more senior role – a main feature in his call-up for national duties.

Central Coast have tallied four consecutive clean sheets this season and Rowles is becoming a real back-bone of experience despite his age.

“To stand up in such a young backline it’s kind of weird because you try and lean on others for experience but then you realise you are the most experienced,” he said.

“When you’re playing at the back you’ve got to be vocal all the time and I really focused on that last year.”

Sunday’s match will be Rowles last before joining camp for the next two qualifiers against Vietnam and Oman.

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Central Coast will look to keep the streak running as they return to the yellow and navy fortress.

No matter the distractions, Monty continues to take each game as it comes, not worrying about any future terms.

‘We’ve only played five games so we’re not looking at the league table, we just look at the next game,” the Mariners coach said.

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“I said to the boys look we’re in the FFA Cup and the A-League. If anyone comes into anything not wanting to win then they’re in the wrong job.

“For me it’s about concentrating on us, everyone wrote us off which was fine. If we perform and keep being consistent then we will win more games of football.”

Feature Image Credit: Robbie Szafranek

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Mitchell Roese
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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