Mariners plot to keep the Wolves at bay

The Central Coast Mariners are buzzing to be part of the FFA Cup but won’t be taking their opponents South Coast Wolves lightly, according to skipper John Hutchinson.

The Mariners travel to WIN Stadium on Wednesday night to play the NSW National Premier League side with Hutchinson itching to kick-off their cup campaign.

“The boys are excited to be playing in the FFA Cup,” he said.

“It’s good to break up the pre-season. Normally it’s 12 to 13 weeks of running around with no real meaningful games for the boys to look forward to after training. But the boys are buzzing.

“It’s another competition that we want to win as many games in as we can and this one’s no different.

“But you have to respect your opponents and we’re going to show them a lot of respect.

“Obviously we’re going down to their home patch but we need to try and dictate terms and hopefully we’ll get the right result.”

The Wolves have just finished their league season with a 5-1 defeat of APIA Leichhardt, while the Mariners have only played two pre-season friendlies.

Hutchinson, a veteran of both the A-League and the NSL, is a big supporter of the Cup and has watched the previous matches with interest.

“I think it’s a fantastic idea,” he said.

“I’d love the see the A-League teams come in a lot bit sooner though than the last 32.

“I think they can improve it and if the FFA can help the smaller clubs with the travel and all of that it’d be great. But the idea of it is unbelievable.

“I’ve watched the games on TV and you sit back and watch the results and I think it’s great for the old NSL teams and the A-League teams to go head-to-head in battle.”

Hutchinson is getting ready for his 19th year of professional football after making his debut for the Gippsland Falcons in 1996.

A foundation player with the Mariners, the 34-year old said his body is feeling all right.

“I’m pretty excited to be still playing at the top level in Australia,” he said.

“Obviously pre-season takes a little toll on you as you get a little bit older but I still enjoy going to training and being around the team.

“I sill get excited about games coming up and all that so when that stops happening or the body gives way is the time that I’ll have to retire.”

Hutchinson, who has played 11 times for the Maltese national team, has no firm retirement plans.

The midfielder made 33 appearances for the Mariners last season in all competitions.

“I’ll just take it season by season,” he said.

“I’ve got one year left on my contract and I’m in no hurry to talk to the club because I want to see how the season pans out.

“You always want to go out on your own terms so it’s something that I’ll just wait and see.

“I’ll probably never leave the Mariners now. I’ve been here for 10 years so there’s no rush to decide about the future.

“I’ll decide how much enjoyment I get out of the season and see how the body handles it once we start playing games.”