What Central Coast Mariners need to improve on for next season

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It was another falling short season for Central Coast Mariners and here at The Football Sack, we want to share what they can improve on for the 2022/23 A-League Men campaign.

Losing in the elimination final for the second consecutive year was disappointing for the club. Though the Mariners were statistically better than their previous season – apart from ladder positioning – there were areas certainly in need for improving come next season.

A main one that everyone from the club to fans would agree with is their mid-season form.

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This was a major fault for Central Coast when you consider where they could have finished during the regular season if not for their slump.

Mariners sat fourth during the first few matches. With a tight league and only few points separating one another, slip ups were costly.

Beginning with a 3-3 draw to Macarthur FC at home following a Craig Noone 93rd-minute worldie equaliser, Central Coast entered their harshest period.

The next four games saw Perth Glory, Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United all steal points in the 90th minute or beyond – while a controversial no penalty call from VAR during their fixture with Melbourne City denied them a chance to level.

Mariners collected two from a possible 15 points, dropping to 11th-place on the ladder.

Head coach Nick Montgomery described the time as deja vu – an endless cycle of losing their concentration in key moments.

Every team goes through a rough patch during the season. For Central Coast though, their slump spanned too long as they plummeted down the ladder.

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From that point forward, Central Coast did have a change in fate, ending the regular season with five consecutive wins – achieving this feat last in 2013.

Despite this, you just have to question where Mariners would have sat at the end of the regular season with just a few more points going their way during that period.

Central Coast missed hosting the elimination final by a single point to Adelaide United. The result may well have been very different with their home crowd behind them.

A club built on the back of their slogan ‘Won’t back down’, the squad will learn from this experience.

Especially with many of the young boys having had these experiences, it is only beneficial for them to grow and mature as professional footballers.

Tie this in with Mariners new director Richard Peil’s plans over the coming seasons and it leaves room for thought upon just how big the club can get.

Once the squad can get their bearings together, finals football on the Central Coast will likely be a regularity.

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Feature Image Credit: Central Coast Mariners

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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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