A-League football will be back in Bathurst this weekend as they host the pre-season clash between 2013 Champions Central Coast Mariners and the Brisbane Roar.
A-League football will be back in town for Bathurst this weekend as the regional town hosts the pre-season clash between the 2013 Grand Final winners in the Central Coast Mariners and the Brisbane Roar.
With a rich tradition for football in the region, Bathurst hosted an official A-League fixture last season and are hoping to continue to attract top-tier football teams to the area.
No doubt a strategic move on the Mariners part as they aim to continue to build their fan base, the impending match is creating a great deal of excitement for locals.
“It is fantastic to have the A-League back in Bathurst,” said Bathurst Regional Council's Greg Westman.
“Last year-s match was a great event and now to have last year-s grand final winners in the Central Coast Mariners, who are very much a local team for the region, is just brilliant for all involved.”
With persistent rain limiting the crowd at last season-s round 17 clash it is expected that football fans will come out in force for this weekend-s match.
“The sun has been shining and it is expected to be sunny on the weekend so we are looking to attract a big crowd to the game.
“For the youngsters of the area to have a chance to see some of their idols it will no doubt be a fantastic opportunity for them.”
The Mariners will spend a couple of days in the central-west as they look to make an impression on the locals.
“They will be holding some coaching clinics, making public appearances and hosting a dinner which will all be opportunities for the people of Bathurst to be involved with.
“For juniors to be able to come out, attend clinics and see players that have achieved their dream is great.”
It is likely that some of these juniors will go and make it at the top level just as many other Australian footballers have that grew up in the area.
“We have been very lucky with how many sports stars have been produced in the area.
“The likes of Archie Thompson, Rhyan Grant and Nathan Burns have all come through the ranks at Bathurst.
"We are continuing to produce a lot of depth in our junior ranks which ensures that the future of football in the region is strong.”
Having now had a taste of the A-League, Westman and the local council is aiming to help the sport build on its strong foundations in Bathurst.
“Football is probably the biggest sport in the region.
“Along with bringing games such as this weekend-s to Bathurst, we are continuing to build infrastructure and work with local football associations to help the game to continue to thrive.
“We are hoping to raise the standards in the area and would no doubt love to see the A-League return to the area each year.”
With the Mariners being a regional team themselves there is no doubt excitement in the camp to make the trip west.
"As the Hyundai A-League's only truly regional club, we love taking our team and brand to other regional centres across Australia,” said Mariners coach Graham Arnold.
“We hope we can count on the support of the people of the Bathurst region to get behind us against Roar."
The match takes place at Carrington Park, Bathurst on Saturday September 7. Kickoff is at 4pm and tickets are available here.