Can a return to home comforts provide a spark for the hot and cold Central Coast or will the consistent Queenslanders take the points on Sunday afternoon in Gosford to complete Hyundai A-League Round 11.
Sunday, 18 December 2016
Central Coast Mariners v Brisbane Roar FC
Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
Kick-Off: 5:00PM (Local) (5:00PM (AEDT))
Referee: Chris Beath
Assistant Referee 1: Owen Goldrick
Assistant Referee 2: Greg Taylor
Fourth Official: Ben Abraham
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on Fox Sports 505 from 5.00pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 4 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: ABC Grandstand, EON Sports Radio (eonsportsradio.com), Coast FM 96.3
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #CCMvBRI
To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au
Central Coast Mariners squad: 1.Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 2.Storm ROUX, 3.Scott GALLOWAY, 5.Harry ASCROFT, 6.Blake POWELL, 7.Fabio FERREIRA, 8.Nick MONTGOMERY (c), 9.Roy O’DONOVAN, 11.Connor PAIN, 12.Trent BUHAGIAR, 13.Kwabena APPIAH, 14.Adam BERRY, 16.Liam ROSE, 19.Jacques FATY, 20.Paul IZZO (gk), 21.Michael NEILL, 22.Jake McGING, 25.Ryan PETERSON
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 8.Nick MONTGOMERY (returns from injury), 19.Jacques FATY (returns from injury)
Unavailable: 10.Mickael TAVARES (ankle – 1 week), 23.Jake ADELSON (ACL – indefinite)
Brisbane Roar FC squad: 1.Michael THEO (gk), 3.Luke DEVERE, 4.Daniel BOWLES, 5.Corey BROWN, 7.Thomas KRISTENSEN, 8.Jacob PEPPER, 9.Jamie MACLAREN, 11.Tommy OAR, 13.Jade NORTH, 15.ARANA, 17.Matt MCKAY (c), 19.Jack HINGERT, 21.Jamie YOUNG (gk), 22.Thomas BROICH, 23.Dimitri PETRATOS, 24.Connor O’TOOLE, 28.Brandon BORRELLO, 33.Joey KATEBIAN
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 1.Michael THEO (gk) (returns from injury), 24.Connor O’TOOLE (promoted), 33.Joey KATEBIAN (promoted)
Outs: 43.Tomislav BILIC (gk) (not selected)
Unavailable: 10.Brett HOLMAN (knee – 4 weeks)
The Mariners could well be bottom when this clash kicks off on Sunday however - with a win - Paul Okon’s side could find themselves in equal sixth by Sunday night.
It’s emblematic of the Yellow and Navy's rollercoaster season.
They've put in encouraging performances but too often these were followed up with poor showings.
Last week the Mariners showed signs of promise but were ultimately outplayed by a hungrier Phoenix outfit riding a wave of emotion following the resignation of coach Ernie Merrick.
But with three of their next four matches at home, Central Coast have the opportunity to build some momentum and entrench themselves in the top six heading into the second half of the season.
The likely return of skipper Nick Montgomery and defender Jacques Faty will provide some much needed experience for the hosts, with their leadership and composure sorely missed against the Phoenix.
Having conceded 20 goals in the opening 10 rounds, can the Mariners stifle a Roar outfit burgeoning with attacking talent?
By contrast, Brisbane are flying following a 4-0 thrashing of Adelaide United and look to be a genuine title contender after suffering just a single loss for the campaign.
John Aloisi’s side put on an attacking masterclass in a dominant performance to snap a run of four-straight 1-1 draws.
The Roar continue to develop a more pragmatic, counter-attacking style and are beginning to reap the rewards in front of goal, with Jamie Maclaren (5 goals) the main beneficiary.
Brett Holman’s prolonged absence (knee) is the only issue for the visitors but encouragingly Dane Thomas Kristensen and Thomas Broich stepped up brilliantly in the former Socceroo’s absence last week.
Brisbane have dominated this fixture in recent times with the Roar having won six straight against the Mariners, netting 16 goals in the process.
And you sense they'll be hard to beat again.
ROUTE TO GOAL
For the Mariners, an over-reliance on Irishman Roy O’Donovan to score the goals is beginning to prove costly with the Yellow and Navy netting just 10 goals (the second lowest in the league) so far.
O’Donovan (4 goals) leads with Blake Powell, Connor Pain and Fabio Ferreira having netted just two goals between them.
The classy Irishman expressed his frustration at a lack of service during the week and urged his side’s experienced players to stamp their authority against the Roar.
The hosts have speed to burn with Connor Pain, Trent Buhagiar and Fabio Ferreira on the flanks but slow ball movement and a lack of incisiveness has been the Mariners’ downfall in recent weeks.
And will Paul Okon persist with Blake Powell in a midfield role?
For Brisbane, Jamie Maclaren is the main attacking threat and he is receiving excellent support from the likes of Socceroo Tommy Oar and the in-form Thomas Broich.
Broich has wound back the clock over the past fortnight and chipped in with a well-taken goal against the Reds to cap off a fine display.
And with Thomas Kristensen (four goals) netting a brace from midfield last weekend and Oar starting to hit his straps, Brisbane look a real threat in the front third.
Throw in the likes of Brandon Borrello, fit-again Dimitri Petratos and Spaniard Arana and the Roar have an embarrassment of riches in attack.
WHO'S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Central Coast Mariners. The hosts will wear a special red and yellow kit this weekend to recognise the efforts of Surf Life Saving Central Coast (SLSCC).
Central Coast Mariners 1-3 Brisbane Roar