Central Coast Mariners 2022/23 Season Preview

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The Central Coast Mariners have gone to the finals two years in a row. Could the third time be the charm?

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Last season…

A-League Men’s: 5th

Finals: Elimination Final

They’ll win the league because…

The attacking power of the Central Coast Mariners last season saw the club become the second-highest goal scoring team in the league. Their defence, however, has often been the sticky point of their season. As a result, the club has gained more defensive players during the off-season, including the highly skilled and experienced goalkeeper Danny Vukovic and central defender Brian Kaltak, among others. Vukovic has had an impressive career, playing in Turkey, Japan, Belgium and the Netherlands, and representing Australia at the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the 2019 AFC Asian Cup. Kaltak’s career has taken him to New Zealand, Solomon Islands, Fiji and Papua New Guinea, and he served as captain of Vanuatu’s National team in the 2021 New Zealand Premiership. Their experience in playing football at the International level could elevate the defensive force of the Mariners.

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The club has also managed to hold onto many of the talented strikers that drove their success last season, like Jason Cummings and Garang Kuol. With the influx of experienced players that could bolster the Mariners’ defensive capabilities, combined with the same attacking prowess from last season (if not slightly improved), the Mariners could have a championship winning season ahead.

They’ll be cellar dwellers because…

The Mariners have seen many key players leave the club. This includes former skipper Oliver Bozanic, Marco Ureña, Mark Birighitti and Socceroo Kye Rowles. With Moresche still recovering from a torn ACL and likely to miss the majority of the season, a lack of consistency in performances could jeopardise the Mariners’ chance at a third straight finals appearance.

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

The F3 Derby is the longest standing derby in Australian football history. While the Mariners and the Jets first faced off in 2005, football teams from the Central Coast and Newcastle have been rivalling since 1981 – back during the era of the National Soccer League.

The off season brought…

A signing frenzy to compensate for the departure of many key players. There were transfers from other A-league clubs, including Thomas Aquilina, Michael Ruhs and Nectarios Triantis. There were also signings from foreign clubs in Paul Ayongo, Kelechi John, Marco Tulio and Brian Kaltak. This season will also see the return of familiar players to the Mariners, with Danny Vukovic and Samuel Silvera donning the Yellow and Navy once again.

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Key player

Jason Cummings. The 27-year-old became a club hero last season, scoring 10 goals in the 21 matches he played. Cummings was an integral part of the attacking force that pushed the Central Coast Mariners through to the elimination finals for the second year in a row. Cummings was also selected to play for the Socceroos in their match against the All Whites last month – a testament to his world-class skill and talent. If he can continue to dominate the goal box this season, the Mariners may have a shot at the title.

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One to watch

Garang Kuol. The young star has potential to be the next big football sensation. The 18-year-old made his professional debut in the A-league last season and managed to make a big impression from the jump, scoring a goal in his first match. He went on to score three more goals across the nine games that he played last season, including the goal that won the game against Western United in round 26.

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He was also selected to play for the Socceroos in their match against New Zealand last month, and recently earned a transfer to English Premier League club Newcastle United – proving what an undeniable talent Kuol is. It will be exciting to see if the talented youngster will be able to perform the same, if not better, this season before he departs for England in January.

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Ins: Thomas Aquilina (Western Sydney Wanderers), Michael Ruhs (Macarthur), Samuel Silvera (Paços de Ferreira), Paul Ayongo (Académico de Viseu), Nectarios Triantis (Western Sydney Wanderers), Danny Vukovic (KRC Genk), Kelechi John (Casa Pia), Marco Tulio (Sporting Clube de Portugal), Brian Kaltak (Vanuatu International)

Outs: Nicolai Müller, Oliver Bozanic, Matthew Hatch, Noah Smith, Ruon Tongyik, Lewis Miller, Kye Rowles, Marco Ureña, Mark Birighitti, Cy Goddard

Full squad list

Goalkeepers: Danny Vukovic, Yaren Sözer, Marko Bulic

Defenders: Thomas Aquilina, Brian Kaltak, Storm Roux, Kelechi John, Jacob Farrell, Cameron Windust, Daniel Hall, Nectarios Triantis, Jakob Cresnar, Joshua Hong

Midfielders: Joshua Nisbet, Maximilien Balard, Béni Nkololo, Harrison Steele, Michael Ruhs, Brad Tapp, James Bayliss, Dor Jok, Maksim Kasalovic, Sasha Kuzevski

Forwards: Samuel Silvera, Jason Cummings, Moresche, Garang Kuol, Paul Ayongo, Miguel Di Pizio, Marco Tulio

Feature Image Credit: Robbie Szafranek

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Jasmine Singh
Jasmine Singh
One of the two journalists covering the Western Sydney Wanderers and the Central Coast Mariners for the 2022/23 season. Studying a Bachelor of Media (Communications and Journalism) / Bachelor of International Studies at the University of New South Wales. A true crime addict and dog lover.

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