Challenge for Mariners

As a youngster Central Coast defender Nigel Boogaard loved watching Robbie Fowler strutting his stuff for Liverpool in the English Premier League.

As a youngster Central Coast defender Nigel Boogaard loved watching Robbie Fowler strutting his stuff for Liverpool in the English Premier League.

But at Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford, on Sunday Boogaard and his defensive partners will be doing everything in their power to make sure Fowler has an afternoon to forget when the Mariners host North Queensland in the Hyundai A-League.

The chance to face off against one of the highest profile players to ever compete in the Hyundai A-League is something Boogaard can't wait for.

"It's a huge challenge,'' said Boogaard, who has been one of the Mariners most consistent players this season.

"To play someone like him is a bit of a dream but we've all got a job to do. He's had a great career but on Sunday it's up to me and the rest of the defenders to shut him down."

"We'll go in respecting him because he's a great player but we've got to try and treat it like any normal game.''

Boogaard's form has been a key factor in the Mariners much improved defence this season.

The problems of last campaign are a distant memory with the Mariners boasting one of the most resolute defences in the competition.

Skipper Alex Wilkinson is another desperate for a big game on Sunday.

He said the team is keen to make up for a disappointing performance against Sydney.

Wilkinson said the team was ready for the challenge, especially against Fowler.

"As a defender it's fantastic to test yourself against great players, we'll be ready,'' he said.

"He's a superstar, a massive name in the game but on Sunday he's just another opponent we need to get on top of.''