Mariners Cross Bass Strait Looking For Victory

Source: News Limited/
Mat Ryan has postponed a trial with Scottish side Rangers. Image courtesy of Limited
There have been some top quality games in the A-League this season, but probably none better than the Melbourne Victory and Central Coast clash at Etihad Stadium earlier this season. A scintillating first half full of end-to-end attack finished with four goals as the home side twice found an equaliser in the 2-2 draw.

Both teams have gone from strength to strength since then, with the Mariners sitting in first spot and Victory in third. Victory’s only home loss this season remains the opening round defeat at the hands of cross-town rival Heart, meaning they’ve taken 17 points out of a possible 21 in their last seven starts at home. Ange Postecoglou’s team has scored in every one of those games so far, but only twice has it kept a clean sheet, and one of those occasions was last week when Victory scored a 2-0 decision over Wellington. Melbourne wasn’t quite as clinical up front, but the team is still adjusting to life without Brazilian Gui Finkler.

One big difference this weekend is that this match will be played at Aurora Stadium in Launceston, rather than Etihad or AAMI Park. Victory played now defunct Gold Coast United there in early 2012 in a game that finished 1-1 .

Mariners custodian Mat Ryan was meant to be on a plane to Scotland earlier this week for a trial with demoted powerhouse Rangers, but that was called off at the last minute due to a shoulder injury. The issue is considered so minor, though, that Ryan is expected to fit for the match against Victory. Central Coast received a further boost with news that young midfielder Tom Rogic has opted against a move to relegation-threatened Reading in the English Premier League, but he is leaving this week to link up with Celtic for its mid-season training camp in Spain.  He isn't expected back until two days before the clash with Newcastle on January 19.  An offer hasn't been tabled for the playmaker, but he will be on trial with the Scottish giants.  

The Mariners have a good record away from Gosford having won four and drawn three of their nine road games. Prior to their 2-0 win over Western Sydney at Parramatta Stadium last start, though, Central Coast had missed out on taking full points from its previous two road trips; a 1-0 loss to Sydney FC and a 1-1 draw with Wellington.

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