We preview the season ahead for Blast year's grand final winners as the side looks to go back-to-back in the 2013/14 season.
We preview the season ahead for last year's grand final winners as the side looks to go back-to-back in the 2013/14 season.
Team Having won their first grand final in four attempts in last year-s decider against the Premier's Plate winning Western Sydney Wanderers, the Mariners will no doubt start the season with a target on their back. The Central Coast side have lost some quality players in the off-season with recent Socceroos call-ups Oliver Bozanic and Mathew Ryan departing to Europe while Patrick Zwaanswijk called time on his career.
The club appears to have added some solid replacements for their title defence though with Marcos Flores headlining the list of recruits after joining from Melbourne Victory. Dutch defender Marcel Seip will look to follow in his countrymen Zwaansijk-s footsteps in the final line of the Mariners defence while Graham Arnold has given Liam Reddy another chance to make it in the top tier of Australian football after signing on from NSW NPL side Sydney United 58 FC.
Daniel McBreen will return to the attack at the end of October when his stint playing for Shanghai Dongya in the Chinese Super League comes to an end and he will no doubt be looking to emulate his goal scoring feats of last season. With Mitchell Duke making his Socceroos debut in in the off-season, Matt Simon returning from abroad and Flores coming in, the side will have a strong chance to match their tied league best 45 goals last season.
While possessing significant attacking prowess the side will also aim to emulate their record of conceding under a goal a game last year. Seip will be joined by another recent Socceroos debutant in Trent Sainsbury in what is likely to again be one of the league-s most miserly defensive lines.
Manager Graham Arnold is recognised as one of the nation-s most knowledgeable football minds and having taking over the Mariners in 2010 Arnie led his troops to grand final glory in the final match of the 2012/13 season. Having helped oversee our "Golden Generation" of Socceroo stars, Arnold has been a loyal servant to the Mariners cause. Despite overtures for his services from other A-League clubs and overseas in recent times, Arnold extended his contract in the off-season. The former Socceroo agreeing to a new deal which keeps him at the club until the end of the 2015/16 campaign.
Star Player While he is set to miss the opening few games of the 2013/14 season, on-loan striker Daniel McBreen is key to the Mariners success. McBreen scored 17 goals throughout the regular season before going on to win the man of the match award as he scored the sealer in the Mariners 2013 grand final victory. With new addition Marcos Flores set to sit behind him in attack it could be another season full of goals for the striker.
The Mariners supporters are amongst the most ardent in the league and the unwavering loyalty of the “Yellow Army” was finally rewarded with last season-s maiden title. Their fans will no doubt be out in force when they host a grand final re-match against the Wanderers in round one. The club have recently returned from the Menpora Cup, where they were runners up, with some hardcore fans making the journey to Indonesia. The Central Coast Mariners Official Supporters Club was established earlier this year to build closer relations between the club, active supporters, members and the general public and to further promote the Mariners within the community.
Ins and Outs
In Liam Reddy (from Sydney United 58 FC) Marcos Flores (from Melbourne Victory) Tom Slater (from Sydney FC) Storm Roux (from Perth Glory) Matt Simon (from Chunnam Dragons, South Korea) Marcel Seip (from VVV Venlo, Netherlands) Michael Neill (elevated from youth side) Hayden Morton (elevated from youth side)
Out Pedj Bojic (to Sydney FC) Oliver Bozanic (to FC Luzern, Switzerland) Bernie Ibini (to Shanghai SIPG, China) Mattew Ryan (to Club Brugge, Belgium) Daniel McBreen (to Shanghai Dongya F.C - on loan until 30/10/2013) Brad McDonald (to Central Coast Mariners Academy - NSW Premier League) Adriano Pelegrino (to Central Coast Mariners Academy - NSW Premier League) Patrick Zwaanswijk (retired)