Sunday’s A-League 2017 Round 19 match is between Western Sydney Wanderers and Central Coast Mariners. The opening kick off is set to commence at 17:07 AEST time with the game to be played at Spotless Stadium. View our preview and teams for the game between Western Sydney Wanderers and Central Coast Mariners.
A much-needed and fully deserved 3-1 win for the Wanderers away to Phoenix has elevated them back into the top six.
Tony Popovic’s men dominated the game, creating more chances and winning the battles all over the park.
They have been way off the pace in terms of ladder position this season but don’t be surprised to see Western Sydney feature heavily in the finals once again.
Nicolas Martinez was again fabulous for the Wanderers and is one of the league’s best attacking midfielders.
But it was Brendon Santalab who provided the spark up front in what has been sorely missing for Western Sydney.
In so many games this season, the Wanderers have been the better team but they have failed to capitalise but in this match, it all came together perfectly.
The Mariners are in a good space at the moment, currently on a two-game winning streak. They have defended much better and are taking their chances which makes them a dangerous proposition of late.
Their game against Adelaide was played in Canberra and only attracted a small crowd. With calls for a Canberra A-League team to be added to the league, the more games and exposure we can give the came in the capital, the better.
Western Sydney are undefeated in their last five games against the Mariners and in two of their last three matches against them,have scored four goals in a game.
The last and only time the Mariners have won an away game against the Wanderers was back in January 2013.
The away records get worse for the Mariners who have lost their last four games on the road, conceding 10 goals and only scoring two in the process.
Roy O’Donovan has scored in three of his last five appearances for the Mariners and will now be looking to score in back-to-back away games for the first time in his career after finding the back of the net against Melbourne City on January 19.
KEY BATTLE: Brenden Santalab v Roy O’Donovan
Santalab was sorely missed when he was out on a three match suspension. Now he is back, so are the Wanderers.
O’Donovan has scored in three of his last five appearances for the Mariners and will now be looking to score in back-to-back away games for the first time in his career after scoring against Melbourne City in round 16.
The Wanderers have a great record against the Mariners and have played them twice this year, winning one and drawing the other.
They were very convincing last weekend and will be too strong at home.
Western Sydney at $1.45
Draw at $4.75
Central Coast at $6.85
Tip: Western Sydney Wanderers at $1.45
Value Bet: First Goal Scorer: L Scott at $6.00
Correct Score: Western Sydney Wanderers 3-1 at $10.00
Western Sydney Wanderers FC squad: 1.Jerrad TYSON (gk), 2.Shannon COLE, 3.Jack CLISBY, 5.Brendan HAMILL, 6.Mitch NICHOLS, 8.DIMAS (c), 10.Nicolás MARTÍNEZ, 11.Brendon SANTALAB, 12.Scott NEVILLE, 13.Bruno PIÑATARES, 14.Jumpei KUSUKAMI, 15.Kearyn BACCUS, 16.Jaushua SOTIRIO, 18.Robert CORNTHWAITE, 20.Vedran JANJETOVIC (gk), 22.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 24.Terry ANTONIS, 29.Ryan GRIFFITHS.
Central Coast Mariners squad: 1.Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 2.Storm ROUX, 3.Scott GALLOWAY, 4.Jacob POSCOLIERO, 5.Harry ASCROFT, 6.Blake POWELL, 7.Fabio FERREIRA, 8.Nick MONTGOMERY (c), 9.Roy O’DONOVAN, 11.Connor PAIN, 12.Trent BUHAGIAR, 13.Kwabena APPIAH, 14.Adam BERRY, 16.Liam ROSE, 17.Josh BINGHAM, 20.Paul IZZO (gk), 21.Michael NEILL, 22.Jake McGING.
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AFL top four still the goal for new Hawks
Hawthorn’s AFL side will have a different look in 2017 but the Hawks’ mantra will stay the same – secure a top-four berth, regroup and go again.
An off-season of significant change has seen premiership stars Sam Mitchell, Jordan Lewis and Bradley Hill depart, with Jarryd Roughead assuming the captaincy after triple-premiership skipper Luke Hodge stepped aside.
Liam Shiels was also part of Alastair Clarkson’s bold makeover, the 25-year-old ascending to the vice-captaincy alongside Isaac Smith.
Shiels admits there is a different feel around the club entering the 2017 season, but that doesn’t mean expectations are lower.
“Our mantra for probably the past five years now has been to finish top four to give ourselves the best chance to do some damage in September … that stays the same,” Shiels said.
“Losing those guys does give the young guys the chance to step up … there’s spots up for grabs, so the energy at training has been fantastic.
“We’ve got great young players coming through, we’ve always had great depth, so that’s probably our greatest strength.
“We’ve obviously picked up a few new guys as well so I think we’re set for a great year.”
Jaeger O’Meara, Tom Mitchell and Ty Vickery were key acquisitions for the Hawks after they were bundled out of last year’s finals series in straight sets.
The departures of experienced duo Mitchell and Lewis leaves a leadership void on and off the field, which Shiels and Smith are intent on filling.
Shiels, in particular, has been touted as a future captain of the club, notably by Hawthorn champion Jason Dunstall.
He doesn’t shy away from those aspirations, but is happy to continue his apprenticeship.
“This is my first year as vice-captain and I still know I’ve got a lot to learn,” he said.
“The lucky position that I’m in is I’m still learning from guys like Luke Hodge, Jarryd Roughead and Josh Gibson.
“I’m in a fortunate position but I haven’t really thought too much about captaincy.”