Montgomery silencing the doubters with the Mariners

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A staggering 75 per cent of players were struck down with Covid and hadn’t played a match since December 22, yet Central Coast Mariners’ resilience keeps on sticking around.

Despite the 3-1 loss to Melbourne City at home, the Mariners sit sixth on the A-League Men’s ladder. Considering they’re two games behind most clubs, it’s an incredible feat.

Central Coast’s 1-0 victory in the FFA Cup semi-final against Sydney FC also booked their first FFA Cup final spot since the competition began after three years of semi-final eliminations. It’s their first final since winning the A-League Men’s championship in 2013.

Behind all this early success is one man. A man questioned in the beginning over his ability to continue the team’s winning ways.

What a yarn that’s been.

Following Alen Stajcic’s two-year reign, club legend Nick Montgomery was appointed to Mariners head coach. A successful portfolio in the NSW National Premier League 2 competition including NPL 2 1st Grade and U20’s sides in 2020 claiming the premiership and championship in their divisions provided a base to lead off.

Stajcic’s departure after leading Central Coast to their first finals series since 2014 brought debate over whether Monty would continue where his predecessor left off or allow them to fall back into their losing ways.

His experience and game knowledge has so far done the talking.

Additionally, with over 18 years and 500 games of experience Monty sure is utilising his arsenal as head coach. Just over six months in and he’s grabbing the league’s attention. However, as always, he continues to go about his ways in a calm and under-the-radar type manner.

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Despite playing two games in just over a month, Monty has brushed any doubters aside about Mariners’ consistency amidst adversity. Four consecutive cleansheets (five in the season) and a 50 per cent win rate despite being unable to choose a full-strengthed side are some notable stats. No matter the hardships, the team’s chemistry continues to build.

Just under halfway through the season and 15 academy graduates have already proved their worth on the big stage. This stat is one unmatched by any club in the league, crediting Monty’s experience and faith in his youngsters to get the job done.

You can see how much it means to him. Montgomery always speaks highly of the boys in press conferences and congratulates each one on any achievements and especially when leaving the field.

Monty’s belief in getting the job done to the best of his ability and leaving the praise to his boys shows his value to the team and community. It’s the little things that are making Montgomery a prominent figure in the Central Coast.

Not only the kids, but even the older lads are providing great support for Monty’s success. Their experience provides an excellent block for Montgomery’s essence to lead from and is why Central Coast’s chemistry is becoming like something you would see on FIFA 22.

He’s been there and done that from both a player’s and coach’s perspectives. This season is his chance to let loose of all the years of experience into putting Central Coast on the map and continuing their winning ways.

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It may be early days and football can have its way of flipping the script. However, as the faithful say, “In Monty we trust!”

Feature Image Credit: Cameron Spencer

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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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