A new season and a new coach. Can the Mariners repeat their success from last season and provide their fans with another finals appearance?
Third (12 wins, six draws, eight losses)
Nick Montgomery and the Mariners have been busy during the offseason signing depth, youth, and experience to the squad. Nicolai Müller, Noah Smith, Cy Goddard, Bèni Nkololo, Storm Roux and Yaren Sözer all join the team.
The addition of Müller provides much needed depth and experience to the team and can link with Ureña and Simon in attack. Watch for Müller’s assist numbers to rise as he feeds Simon and Ureña.
Montgomery will be looking to extract more influential performances out of the German than what he was able to produce at the Wanderers.
Müller finished his season at the Wanderers with seven goals and three assists from 37 appearances.
Losing the likes of Daniel De Silva and Gianni Stensness left the team looking a little thin in attack. But arguably the biggest loss has been Alou Koul.
Koul might not have been the best player on the pitch, but his electrifying presence was a major factor in the Mariners surprise resurgence last season.
While only scoring seven goals, the raw power of Koul’s debut season provided fans with moments of magic.
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What to expect:
One of the biggest revelations of the last A-League Men’s season were the Central Coast Mariners. A third-place finish and a first finals appearance since 2014 brought an end to a wretched run of form with four wooden spoon finishes in five seasons.
New head coach Nick Montgomery has promised a bold style of play to ensure the Mariners’ 20/21 campaign can be repeated and further build on what former coach Alan Stajcic created.
Last season’s success was built on the stability through the midfield and defence. The Mariners achieved the league’s third best defensive record with only 31 goals conceded.
The defensive duo of Tongyik and Rowles will be a formidable force once again, but with the loss of Gianni Stesness and Daniel De Silva, the Mariners have lost a major part of their defensive stability and link up through the midfield.
This opens the door for the potential addition of another defensive midfielder, or more likely, for Joshua Nisbet to fill that second deep midfield role alongside Bozanic and provide a link when attacking.
One of the biggest problems the Mariners faced last season was goals conceded at the end of each half. 15 of the 31 goals conceded came within the last 15 minutes of each half.
With the significant drop off to end each 45, the depth of the squad and rotation off of the bench will be pivotal.
Both Jack Clisby and Stefan Nigro have departed the club, leaving the full back positions a bit thin. Noah Smith and Storm Roux were quickly and smartly signed as versatile replacements.
One player who could see a major playing time upgrade and provide further depth is Maximilien Ballard.
Ballard has played time as a central defender in the Mariners youth team but can play in the middle of the park. Fans got a glimpse of his composure and control last season and has shown that he can take the next step.
The added depth in midfield with Müller, Nkololo, Goddard and potentially Ballard, will provide the composure and link up ability that was lost with De Silva and Stensness, while also providing much needed rotations off the bench.
The Mariners are primed for another solid season and their fans are hoping for back-to-back finals appearances.
Mariners Predicted XI
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