Round two gives me my first opportunity to get to the game so I’m super excited to be heading in to the stadium to see the boys in action. To add to that excitement there is plenty of interest in this weekend’s match. Firstly it’s the Mariner’s now traditional ‘Pink Day’ supporting Pink Ribbon Day. It’s a great cause so let’s hope we see plenty of Pink in the stands to raise awareness for it. Additionally it’s the first time former Mariner and Championship hero Michael McGlinchey will appear at our Gosford home wearing another team’s strip. All the off season controversy around Mikey’s move to Wellington is now in the past with him making his debut for Wellington last weekend and despite his team going down, Mikey managed to get himself off to a positive start, including a goal, for the New Zealanders.
Before moving away from the issue of Mikey’s departure, I have to say that despite some fans views that the Mariners were all at fault for the debacle that was his move to Wellington, the reality is that an independent arbiter found that he always was a Mariners contracted player. There is no doubt mistakes were made by our club in terms of the paperwork associated with the changeover of ownership. That said, should the Mariners have just let their contracted player go? Not for me. Why shouldn’t they have expected to be compensated for the player moving? They should, but the A-League has no system for internal transfer so this would never have been allowed. Should Mikey have returned to the Mariners? I don’t think so; he clearly wanted to go home to New Zealand, and fair enough. Should the PFA have given him and the Nix the advice they did; that he had no contract with the Mariner’s and given it was subsequently proven to be incorrect? You can decide that one for yourself. To me, it’s time the FFA bit the bullet and created transfer rules to allow for clubs to accept transfer fees from other A-League clubs (as happens for just about any league in the world) and thus avoid such situations becoming the type of protracted battle that was played out on this occasion. It’s not the first time it has happened, not too long ago Steve Lustica was involved in a similar situation moving between Adelaide and Brisbane. For the protection of the players, the clubs and for the benefit of the fans, the FFA must change this.
On the football – the Mariner’s first up Derby win wasn’t all that pretty but as I’ve said before “a win is a win”, especially in a derby. With a youthful team travelling to the Gold Coast during the week for a successful FFA Cup quarter final there will be plenty in the squad brimming with confidence. Aside from the obvious four goal haul from Mat Sim, the man of the match (for me) was Glen Trifiro. A couple of years ago when playing in the NPL at Sydney United, ‘Tricky’ as he is known among the players, was the standout; not just in the Sydney United team but in that competition. His step up to the A-League saw him come to the Mariner’s without pre-season fitness and his performances were workmanlike without being outstanding. After working through this pre-season he has looked a much fitter proposition and for mine has been the standout in the ‘10’ position since. I read some statistics about how he has either scored or made the assist for 6 out of the Mariner’s 8 goals so far this campaign and it’s not surprising because he has been excellent in every appearance. At this point I can’t see what else he has to do to convince Phil Moss he should start in the ‘10’ position this weekend. I’m licking my lips at the prospect of seeing his combination with Malick Mane who was my standout in the Derby.
For the Phoenix, they played well in patches last weekend and will therefore present dangerous opposition despite their history of performing poorly away from home. Going down to Perth Glory in the Eastern version of the ‘Distance Derby’ they showed glimpses of what they are capable of having signed well in the off-season. I’ll need at least this weekend to make my own assessment of the new players in their side but with the likes of Jeremy Brockie skulking around their front half and McGlinchey in the midfield, they will always present a goal scoring threat. In fact, during their visit to Bluetongue Stadium last season they embarrassed our boys with a 4-1 victory on the back of an inspired performance, including a cracking goal, from Carlos Hernandez. With two times Melbourne Victory Premiership and Championship winning coach Ernie Merrick at the helm I expect the Phoenix will be well organised and with a few tricks up their sleeves to make for a great challenge for our own Yellow men.
I don’t think that’s going to happen this week. I think the Mariner’s will start to show the improvement needed as we get further into this season and will have too much quality for the Phoenix. I think Malick Mane will likely score his opening goal for our club and cause plenty of problems for the Phoenix defenders.
My prediction: – Mariners by 1