Zwaanswijk ready for 'great' Del Piero

Alessandro Del Piero might be dominating the headlines but another veteran campaigner continues to amaze for Central Coast Mariners.

Alessandro Del Piero might be dominating the headlines but another veteran campaigner continues to amaze for Central Coast Mariners.

Dutch defender Patrick Zwaanswijk has been in outstanding form and is shaping as one of coach Graham Arnold's key men as the Mariners host Del Piero's Sydney at Bluetongue Stadium in Gosford on Saturday night.

At 37, Zwaanswijk knows this season could be his last and he is determined to make it successful.

With long time skipper Alex Wilkinson no longer at the club Zwaanswijk's form in the heart of the Mariners defence needs to be strong and so far he has delivered in a big way.

With so many new players this season Arnold has tinkered with his system and Zwaanswijk is a major element in the new structure.

He said he is looking forward to the challenge of confronting Del Piero for the first time in front of what is expected to be a crowd of more than 15,000 at Gosford.

"It will be a battle of the ages," Zwaanswijk said of his clash with the Italian superstar.

"I've never played against him but I've seen him a lot and love the way he plays, he's one of the greats of the game."

"I love to play against great players."

While admitting the chance to play Del Piero was great, Zwaanswijk said the club is focused on nothing but picking up three points which could see the Mariners leading the competition depending on other weekend results.

"He's one of 11 players we have to stop," Zwaanswijk said.