Can the underrated Mariners pull off a season opening upset in Perth? In their way is a Glory squad that’s arguably the strongest they’ve ever assembled. Should be a fascinating meeting on Saturday night.
Saturday 8 October 2016
Perth Glory v Central Coast Mariners
nib Stadium, Perth
Kick-Off: 7:00PM (Local) (10:00PM (AEDT))
Referee: Chris Beath
Assistant Referee 1: Josh Mannella
Assistant Referee 2: Matthew Southern
Fourth Official: Adam Fielding
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on Fox Sports 505 from 10.00pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: 92.5 ABC Central Coast, Grandstand Digital (Except Perth), Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live, EON Sports Radio ( eonsportsradio.com ), Coast FM 96.3
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #PERvCCM
To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au
Perth Glory squad: 2.Alex GRANT, 3.Marc WARREN, 5.Rhys WILLIAMS, 6.Dino DJULBIC, 8.Rostyn GRIFFITHS (c), 9.Andy KEOGH 10.Nebojsa MARINKOVIC, 13 Nicholas FEELY (gk), 14.Chris HAROLD, 15.Brandon WILSON, 16.Joseph MILLS, 17.Diego CASTRO, 19.Josh RISDON, 21.Jamal REINERS, 22.Adam TAGGART, 23.Kosta PETRATOS, 24.Milan SMILJANIC, 33.Liam REDDY (gk)
**two to be omitted**
Central Coast Mariners squad: 1.Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 2.Storm ROUX, 4.Jacob POSCOLIERO, 5.Harry ASCROFT, 6.Blake POWELL, 7.Fabio FERREIRA, 8.Nick MONTGOMERY (c), 9.Roy O’DONOVAN, 10.Mickael TAVARES, 11.Connor PAIN, 12.Trent BUHAGIAR, 13.Kwabena APPIAH, 14.Adam BERRY, Jacques FATY, 20.Paul IZZO (gk), 21.Michael NEILL, 22.Jake McGING, 25.Ryan PETERSON
**two to be omitted**
Unavailable: 16.Liam ROSE (international duty – 4 weeks), 23.Jake ADELSON (ACL – indefinite)
It’s Paul Okon’s first match in charge of the Central Coast Mariners and they don’t come much tougher than a road trip west to face Kenny Lowe’s charges.
Okon was handed the coaching reins in Gosford just over a month ago and while he’s not had the chance to sign players it will be interesting to see what stamp he’s been able to put on his young squad.
Former Sky Blues Ivan Necevski, Jacques Fatty and Mikael Taveres all look set to make their first league appearance in the Yellow And Navy and will add some much needed experience to their ranks.
The Mariners will take heart from the fact they banked three points in Round 1 against Glory last season – but it was one of only three wins they claimed during the campaign.
They face a Perth side that charged home towards the back end of last season to claim what had seemed an unlikely finals berth.
Reigning Johnny Warren Medallist Diego Castro is back, while Glory has been proudly proclaiming the fact that they’ve got 14 home-grown players on their books this season.
Perth has won the last four clashes between these two sides at nib Stadium and they’ll be eager to kick-start their 20th year celebrations in the right fashion.
ROUTE TO GOAL
Perth have a formidable frontline, with Andy Keogh breaking the league record for goals in consecutive matches last season, while the club welcomes home Socceroo striker Adam Taggart.
Throw Chris Harold into the mix and with Castro pulling the strings Glory should once again have plenty of goals in them this season – although it will be interesting to see what formation they will use.
Another Irishman looks set to carry the goal scoring burden for Central Coast again this season, with fans hopeful Roy O’Donovan has more strikes like the 2015/16 goal of the season in his locker.
Connor Pain, Blake Powell and Taveres all land in Gosford with a point to prove, while Fabio Ferreira will be eager to show the people of Perth his Portuguese panache.
WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Rostyn Griffiths. The 28-year-old midfielder was named Perth Glory’s captain last weekend, while the club also unveiled a special Heritage Kit they’ll wear throughout the 2016/17 Season.
It’s hard to get a read on how Perth are travelling heading into the season proper with the club mainly playing local NPL sides throughout their pre-season.
Glory were beaten by Roar a fortnight ago and had their bid for a third straight Westfield FFA Cup final ended by Sydney FC but it’s unlikely they’ll be underdone heading into the season proper.
There have been some promising signs in pre-season for the Mariners, with wins against the Jets and Young Socceroos.
The club will be determined to make amends for their exit in the Cup’s Round of 32 at the hands of Victorian NPL side Green Gully, which prompted the departure of former coach Tony Walmsley.
Perth Glory 3 – 1 Central Coast Mariners