Football Season Guide

Central Coast Mariners


Jakob Cresnar (def), free transfer, Michael Ruhs (att), transfer from Macarthur FC, Danny Vukovic (gk), transfer from NEC, Kelechi John (def), transfer from Casa Pia, Paul Ayongo (att), transfer from Academico Viseu, Nectarios Triantis (def), transfer from Western Sydney Wanderers, Marko Bulic (gk), transfer from Melbourne Victory, Sam Silvera (att), transfer from Pacos de Ferreira, Thomas Aquilina (def), transfer from Western Sydney Wanderers, Marco Tulio (att), transfer from Sporting Clube de Portugal, Brian Kaltak (def), free transfer.


Marcos Urena (att) (r), transfer to Cartagines, Cy Goddard (mid) (sp), transfer to Detroit City, Oliver Bozanic (mid) (k), transfer to Western Sydney Wanderers, Ruon Tongyik (def) (sp), transfer to Western Sydney Wanderers, Matthew Hatch (mid) (sp), transfer to Perth Glory, Noah Smith (def/mid) (sp), transfer to Melbourne Victory, Kye Rowles (def) (r), transfer to Hearts, Mark Birighitti (gk) (k), transfer to Dundee United, Nicolai Muller (att) (sp), released, Lawrence Caruso (gk) (sp), transfer to Western Sydney Wanderers, Garang Kuol (att) (sp), transfer to Newcastle United (but loaned back to CCM until January 2023)

Lots of comings and goings pre-season but have done well overall. Defence took the biggest hit with Rowles, Miller, and even Tongyik moving on, as well as veteran GK Birighitti. Two players per position now. One concern is that they may end up losing players mid-season because if Cummings, Kuol, and Hall continue to impress, another club is going to sign them. Good news with Kuol, though - Newcastle United signed him and loaned him back until January 2023 so no nasty surprises there. CCM don't command the same respect in Australia that they used to so keeping hold of players nowadays is not something that they can realistically do. Will have to play wide more often than not; don't really have the playmakers to do otherwise. Ins - acquired Cresnar pre-season because of LB Farrell's fondness for yellow cards, and Smith's transfer away. John will replace Rowles, and that should aid Hall to no end, who needs to be led by a partner. Aquilina is as good a replacement for Miller as they could realistically hope for. Triantis will play the Tongyik understudy role alongside Windust. Vukovic replacing Birighitti simply makes sense; very good acquisition. Silvera could be a genius signing; he was excellent the last time he donned yellow-and-blue, although his confidence looked shot for most of his loan spell at the Jets last season. A real match-winner on his day though. Ayongo brought in to replace Urena; already looks very good. Tulio also joined, which is because they know that Garang Kuol would be signed by another club sooner or later. Ruhs' arrival is also rather telling; very similar forward to club legend Matt Simon, who missed all of last season, and now appears to be doing more coaching than playing, although is not officially retired - yet. Outs - they've lost some good players but have replaced all of them well. Urena linked up well with both Cummings and Simon but Ayongo should prove a capable replacement. Bozanic was great for them but fell out with Montgomery big time, and was omitted from the squad for the last month or two of last season. Tongyik couldn't break into a Rowles/Hall CB partnership. Oddly, Hatch may be the biggest loss - his lightning pace as an impact sub decided several games for them last season. Pre-season, they showed signs of a potential formation switch as a 3-man overload - Ayongo, Kuol, Nkololo - caused lots of problems to good teams. Opted to take on City, Victory, and Sydney pre-season, winning twice and drawing once. The feeling is that this group is on the cusp of being something special. Unsure how long the group will be able to stay together though - scouts are watching. May have a rockier start to the season than most, given the changes to their starting eleven, but are fiercely competitive and now goal-laden. Potential dark horses for the title; no obvious weaknesses. Likely key players - Hall, Nkololo, Kuol, Vukovic.


Would be happy with 4-6, but quite capable of pushing for a 1-3 place.