A-League preview: Western Sydney Wanderers v Central Coast Mariners

Tony Popovic’s strugglers host battlers Central Coast Mariners in a crucial clash with both sides hoping for a much-needed three points to kick-start their season on the first day of 2015.


Thursday, 1 January 2015

Pirtek Stadium, Parramatta

Kick-Off: 7:30 PM (Local) (7:30 PM AEDT)

Referee: Strebre Delovski

Assistant Referee 1: Sarah Ho

Assistant Referee 2: Lance Greenshields

Fourth Official: Chris Young

TV Broadcast: Live and exclusive coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 7.30pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 3 (New Zealand)

Radio Broadcast: 702 ABC Sydney & 92.5 ABC Central Coast, ABC Local Radio NSW,666 ABC Canberra, Grandstand Digital, Online/ ABC Radio Mobile phone app. Coast FM. 2GLF.

Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #WSWvCCM

Western Sydney Wanderers FC Squad: 1.Ante COVIC (gk), 2.Shannon COLE, 4.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY (c), 5.Brendan HAMILL, 6.Antony GOLEC, 7.Labinot HALITI, 8.MATEO POLJAK, 10.Vitor SABA, 12 .Nikita RUKAVYTSYA,15.Yianni PERKATIS, 16.Jaushua SOTIRIO, 18.Iacopo LA ROCCA, 19.Mark BRIDGE, 20.Dean BOUZANIS(gk), 22.Seyi ADELEKE, 23.Jason TRIFIRO, 32.Daniel ALESSI, 33.Nick KALMAR

***two to be omitted***

Ins: 4.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY (returns from suspension), 8.MATEO POLJAK (promoted), 22.Seyi ADELEKE (promoted), 10.Vitor SABA (promoted), 33.Nick KALMAR (new signing)

Outs: 3.Daniel MULLEN (not Selected), 9.Tomi JURIC (international duty – 2 matches), 13.Matthew SPIRANOVIC (international duty – 2 matches),

Unavailable: 11.Brendon SANTALAB (shoulder – indefinite), 34.Golgol MEBRAHTU (knee – indefinite), 35.Kearyn BACCUS (ankle)

Central Coast Mariners Squad: 1.Matt NASH (gk), 2.Storm ROUX, 3.Josh ROSE, 4.Jacob POSCOLIERO, 5.Zac ANDERSON, 7.John HUTCHINSON (C), 8.Nick MONTGOMERY, 9.Mitchell DUKE, 10.Anthony CACERES, 11.Nick FITZGERALD, 12.Liam REDDY (gk), 15.Matt SIM, 16.Liam ROSE, 17.Richard VERNES, 18.Glen TRIFIRO, 19.Matt SIMON, 23.Isaka CERNAK, 25.Eddy BOSNAR

***two to be omitted***

Ins: 4.Jacob POSCOLIERO (promoted), 8.Nick MONTGOMERY (returns from injury), 23.Isaka CERNAK (promoted) 

Outs: 26.KIM Seung-yong (not selected) 

Unavailable: 6.Brent GRIFFITHS (injury – indefinite), 21.Michael Neill (injury – indefinite)



Both sides will be hoping a new year will bring with it a change of fortune in the Hyundai A-League. The Wanderers may have been crowned kings of Asia in 2014 but their domestic form has been atrocious, still without a win after 10 games. Central Coast haven’t fared much better, with only one victory for the campaign – coming back in Round 1. So something has to give on the first day of 2015. The Mariners at least showed some promising signs in their 3-3 draw with Brisbane on Saturday and if they can build on that will be a dangerous proposition for Tony Popovic’s side.

The Wanderers go into a crucial two-game period before the Asian Cup break without Socceroo duo Matthew Spiranovic and Tomi Juric, but skipper Nikolai Topor-Stanley returns following suspension. 

Korean import Kim Seung-yong has parted way with the Mariners this week. Jacob Poscoliero and Nick Montgomery are both back in and could feature in the starting side should Phil Moss look to freshen up his squad during this busy period.


-Western Sydney Wanderers have recorded the worst shot conversion rate of any team in the Hyundai A-League thus far (7.1 percent).

-Of the last nine Hyundai A-League matches involving these sides, there have been three wins apiece and three draws (including finals).

-Central Coast Mariners have failed to score in three of their last four Hyundai A-League games against Western Sydney (including finals).

-WSW have lost only once in their last eight home Hyundai A-League games (including play-offs) although that defeat did come in their most recent match on their own turf (W2 D5).


It’s been the same old story for the Wanderers for much of this season. Creating some good chances throughout matches – more than enough to win games – but failing to take them and ending up on the wrong end of the scoreboard. Losing striker Tomi Juric to Socceroos duty won’t  help their cause to turn that around, placing greater pressure on the likes of Mark Bridge, Labinot Haliti and Nikita Rukavytsya to find the back of the net. The Mariners ended their barren run in front of goal with three against Roar, and it came as a result of their full-backs Josh Rose and Storm Roux being able to get forward and get crosses into the box. With Matt Simon causing havoc in the box and the likes of Mitch Duke, Nick Fitzgerald and Anthony Caceres around the box, Central Coast have goals in them.


Matt Simon. The hard-running striker epitomises everything good about the Central Coast Mariners. Simon puts it all on the line every time he steps out on the park, playing with a never-say-die attitude that can lift those around him. He also has plenty of quality about him as well, with his goal against Brisbane on Saturday his third in as many games. Coach Phil Moss will be hoping he can cause a few more headaches to a Wanderers defence that will be without Socceroo centre-back Matthew Spiranovic on Asian Cup duty.


Not much for either side to get excited about. The Wanderers’ 1-0 loss to Wellington on Sunday was their seventh defeat in 10 games this season. The Mariners have gone 11 games without a victory but should gain some confidence from an thrilling 3-3 draw with Brisbane on Saturday, leading twice in the second half but just unable to  see the game out. These two sides have already met once this season in Parramatta, the match ending in a 0-0 draw. 


The Mariners’ last seven results have alternated between a draw and a loss; they drew their last game.


Western Sydney Wanderers FC 2-1 Central Coast Mariners

The Wanderers have had to deal with speculation surrounding the future of coach Tony Popovic and some star players in the lead up to this clash and it will be interesting to see what effect that has on their performance. Normally so hard to stop in front of their home fans, the Wanderers have struggled to produce at Parramatta this season and the Mariners will hope to  use that to their benefit here. It is likely to be tight and really hard fought but something tells me the Wanderers will make the perfect start to the new year.