05/03/2024

Emily Husband will take the reigns of the Central Coast Mariners A-League Women team later this year. Credit: Central Coast Mariners/Twitter

As some A-League Women teams have begun to announce their signings for the 2023/24 season and departures from last season, The Inner Sanctum takes a look at five players who Emily Husband and the Central Coast Mariners should try to sign for its re-debut season into Australia’s top flight.

Note: This article will not include players from the Central Coast Mariners academy side, currently competing in Football NSW League One Women’s competition.

Ashlie Crofts

A player who some refer to as ‘The Queen of Blacktown’, Crofts has found a new life at APIA Leichhardt during the 2023 NPL NSW Women’s season and has been a key part of why they are 10 points clear at the top of the table.

After not getting picked up by an A-League Women’s side for the 2022/23 season, she had a point to prove and is currently sitting joint top of the golden boot race with eight goals at the halfway point of the season.

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With Emily Husband being the coach of Sydney University in the same competition, Crofts is a player she is familiar with and would know how to best utilise her and her goal-scoring capabilities at the Mariners.

Goals could be at a premium for the Mariners in their re-debut season, and signing a sure-fire goalscorer could be a way to alleviate that.

Rachel Lowe

A player who recently won the A-League Women’s championship with Sydney FC, the young midfielder has departed the Sky Blues and is currently without a club for the 2023/24 season.

Lowe did play a few games for Sydney Uni in the 2022 NPL season before being unable to play due to what she revealed was post-viral fatigue after having COVID-19, which also hampered her game-time with Sydney FC.

A crafty midfielder who can also find the back of the net, Husband could utilise the talents and experience of Lowe with what could be a very young and inexperienced squad at the A-League level.

Rachel Lowe in action for Sydney FC (Photo: Sydney FC)

Lowe could also benefit from a move to Gosford, which if fit, would likely see her starting most weeks and allow her to continue with her development as a player.

With a change of scenery guaranteed for Lowe, she could do much worse than a palm tree and sauce bottle adorned stadium in Gosford.

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Isabella Coco-Di Sipio

A strong defender who can also score, Coco-Di Sipio is beginning to develop a reputation in NPL NSW with versatility in starting and putting her side in a great position, or an off-the-bench option to close out games.

Having suffered injury setbacks during her teenage years, she is beginning to get consistent game time, and a spot in Gosford would only help with her development.

While there will likely be plenty of talent from the Mariners Academy making up Husband’s inaugural squad, having an option like Coco-Di Sipio would only be beneficial to the Central Coast.

Leena Khamis

A long-standing veteran of the Dub, Leena Khamis would provide some veteran experience for the Mariners as Husband tries to make her mark in Gosford.

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The 36-year-old could be used as a starting option in the early part of the season as part of a front two to help mentor some younger forwards that would make up Husband’s side.

Alternatively, she could be used as an option off the bench to allow younger players to develop starting experience.

Isobel Dalton

With Lewes FC announcing that Dalton would be leaving the club to pursue opportunities back home in Australia, the Mariners would be a good landing spot for the 25-year-old.

Isobel Dalton, who has left Lewes FC to return to Australia. Credit: Lewes FC Women/Twitter

Having previously played for Brisbane Roar, that would seem like the obvious landing spot if she plays in the upcoming season, but could Husband convince her to head to Gosford?

With experience in Italy and England, Dalton would make a good midfield choice for the Mariners, and along with the other four names on this list, give the side a strong foundation to build off as they look to make waves in the A-League Women.

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