Mariners want control

The focus has been on ball control this week as the Central Coast Mariners look to kickstart their A-League season with a win over Gold Coast at Bluetongue Stadium on Saturday night.

The focus has been on ball control this week as the Central Coast Mariners look to kickstart their A-League season with a win over Gold Coast at Bluetongue Stadium on Saturday night.

The Mariners defensive structure was outstanding during their 1-0 loss to a rampant Brisbane last week at Suncorp Stadium.

But what concerned coach Graham Arnold about the performance was his team's inability to keep the ball.

"The players were a bit hard on themselves after the Brisbane game," Arnold said.

"We set pretty high standards last season and they were disappointed with aspects of the performance."

"Our defence was outstanding. They had a lot of ball and we kept them out for a long time."

"We just can't turn over possession as much as we did."

Arnold is unlikely to tinker too much with the squad with captain Alex Wilkinson still out with a fractured arm meaning Brad Porter will play alongside Patrick Zwaanswijk in the heart of defence.

"It will be a similar line-up for Gold Coast, the boys did pretty well," Arnold said.

Meanwhile, Arnold and the players hope the success of last season will convince Central Coast fans to come out in force and support the team on Saturday night and throughout the campaign.

The Mariners enjoyed huge success on the field last season but one of the few disappointments was the lack of consistent crowd support.