Central Coast Mariners boss responds to Socceroos question: ‘Quite rightly so’

Mikael Doka scored twice as the Central Coast Mariners ran out 4-0 winners over Odisha in the first leg of the Inter Zonal Semi-Final in the AFC Cup.

Central Coast Mariners head coach Mark Jackson said a Socceroos call-up for Josh Nisbet would be “fantastic” for the player and the Isuzu UTE A-League champions as he continues to impress.

There are growing calls for Nisbet to be called into the Socceroos squad ahead of 2026 FIFA Men’s World Cup qualifiers against Lebanon in Canberra and Sydney this month following his exploits with the Mariners.

Nisbet played a key role in Central Coast’s first Championship in 10 years last season, but a 2023-24 move has transformed the player and Mariners, who are second in the Isuzu UTE A-League and within touching distance of the AFC Cup Inter Zonal Final following Thursday night’s 4-0 rout of Odisha FC.

In the 3-3 draw away to three-time reigning premiers Melbourne City in Round 8, Jackson made a half-time change, pushing Nisbet further forward in midfield.

It proved to be a masterstroke as the Mariners scored three goals in the second half and were only denied victory by a 92nd-minute equaliser at AAMI Park. Central Coast have also gone from strength to strength while fans and pundits call for fan favourite Nisbet to be called up by Australia boss Graham Arnold.

Jackson was asked about the calls for Nisbet to be selected after his impressive performance against Odisha in Gosford.

“That would be fantastic for the player, for the club, for everything,” Jackson told reporters.

“What’s gone on in the past and with the academy and the work, what’s been done before that. That would be a fantastic achievement for not only Nizzy but the club as well.

“Quite rightly so when players are playing well, they get touted around for the national team and stuff like that.

“But Graham Arnold will make that decision. All Josh can do is perform on the pitch and do what he’s been doing. He’s been playing really, really well.

“It would be nice to see but it’s out of my control.”