Mariners sweat on Simon

Injured Central Coast striker Matt Simon will not be risked in Saturday night's major semi-final showdown against Brisbane at Gosford unless he is 100 per cent.

Injured Central Coast striker Matt Simon will not be risked in Saturday night's major semi-final showdown against Brisbane at Gosford unless he is 100 per cent.

That was the message from Mariners coach Graham Arnold this week as Simon battles to be fit for one of the biggest games at Bluetongue Stadium in years.

Simon, the club's leading scorer this season, has missed the past two matches after suffering a knee injury following a strong tackle from Melbourne Heart skipper Simon Colosimo.

But the in-form goal-poacher is desperate to play, leaving coach Graham Arnold with a big decision.

"We won't take anyone into this game who is not 100 per cent fit,'' he said.

"Matty is a very important player for us but we need everyone at their best against a side like Brisbane.''

"We'll wait and see how he pulls up.''

If Simon plays he is likely to line up alongside Daniel McBreen, who has played strongly during the past month.

If he is out Arnold has several options.

Youngster Bernie Ibini-Isei could retain his starting position or Arnold could recall Adam Kwasnik, who has been battling a niggling leg injury.

Arnold has also not ruled out playing Patricio Perez as a striker with Mustafa Amini coming into the starting side at the top of the midfield diamond.

Perez was moved up front for the final minutes of last week's win over Newcastle and scored the winning goal after Amini played a big part in the build up.