Home Australia One of A-League’s smallest and poorest clubs chases four trophies this year

One of A-League’s smallest and poorest clubs chases four trophies this year

0 comment
Smiling man in sailor gear holding a scarf

The Central Coast Mariners have kept their dream of winning four trophies this year alive.

The team remains in contention for the Premier A-League plate and title defense and will play for glory in the AFC Cup final next month.

The Mariners defeated Abdysh-Ata Kant at Central Coast Stadium on Wednesday night, winning 4-1 on aggregate.

Coach Mark Jackson said the team enjoyed the opportunity to travel around Asia to play soccer.

“Obviously, we’re elated,” Jackson said.

“For us as a club to achieve this goal and reach the AFC Cup final is huge.”

It has been a decade since an A-League club reached an Asian final, with Western Sydney Wanderers winning the Asian Champions League in 2014.

Jackson said it was a great achievement for one of the smallest and poorest clubs to be considering a $2.3 million payday.

“It is a financial achievement for the club and a club like ours needs to do it. We all know that we are a club that has to develop players,” he said.

“There are big financial rewards, so that’s part and parcel of it.”

The Mariners have a reputation for developing talent and boast a host of Socceroos such as Matt Ryan, Mile Jedinak, Kye Rowles and Garang Kuol.

The latest star to emerge is Miguel di Pizio, 18 years old.

The Sydney-born teenager came off the bench last night and scored two goals and said it was a great achievement for the club.

“It all seems like a dream,” di Pizio said.

“It’s a competition where we get to play a lot of games, so it’s definitely made us a stronger group by traveling together, building the connection between us.”

The Mariners won the A-League title last season, after years of stagnation, and foundation member Bob Brooks said the success had been surprising to see.

“My heart stopped, my heart went boom, boom, boom,” he said.

“Obviously, as a long-time fan, I’m ecstatic… and I’m meeting people from all over the country who come to support the Mariners.

“People are just taking this little club to their hearts.”

Foundation member Bob Brooks says it was an impressive victory.(Supplied: Bob Brooks)

The Mariners have already won the Club Championship for the best combined men’s and women’s team in the A-League.

Coach Jackson said while the team was on the verge of claiming the top tier plate and defending its A-League title, there was still work to do.

“It’s a real carrot for us,” Jackson said.

“It seems like we are very close to that, but, on another front, we are very far away because we have important games ahead of us.”

The Mariners’ immediate focus now turns to the local derby against the Newcastle Jets on Saturday, before the final A-League match against Adelaide United.

The team will face Lebanese side Al-Ahed in the AFC Cup final on May 5.

Central Coast Mariners fans celebrate, one holding a blue and yellow toilet seat

Central Coast Mariners fans celebrate during their Men’s A-League team’s grand final victory last year.(ABC News: Brendan Esposito)

Sports content to make you think… or allow you not to. A newsletter delivered every Saturday.

You may also like