Hyundai A-League preview: Phoenix v Mariners

With Ernie Merrick’s shock resignation, it’s been a tumultuous week in Wellington. How will the Nix respond in Hamilton under interim coaches Greenacre and Buckingham?

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Wellington Phoenix v Central Coast Mariners

Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, New Zealand

Kick-Off:  7:35PM (Local) (5:35PM (AEDT))

Referee:  Matthew Conger

Assistant Referee 1:  Simon Lount

Assistant Referee 2:  Mark Rule

Fourth Official:  Ben Abraham

TV Broadcast:  Live coverage on Fox Sports 505 from 5.00pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 4 (New Zealand)

Radio Broadcast:  EON Sports Radio (, Coast FM 96.3

Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #WELvCCM

To purchase tickets visit

Wellington Phoenix squad:  1.Glen MOSS (gk), 2.Jacob TRATT, 4.Roly BONEVACIA, 5.Ryan LOWRY, 7.Gui FINKLER, 8.Alex RODRIGUEZ, 9.Kosta BARBAROUSES, 11.Hamish WATSON, 12.Adam PARKHOUSE, 13.Marco ROSSI, 14.Alex RUFER, 16.Louis FENTON, 17.Vince LIA, 19.Tom DOYLE, 20.Lewis ITALIANO (gk), 21.Roy KRISHNA, 22.Andrew DURANTE (c), 23.Matthew RIDENTON

**two to be omitted**

Ins:  14.Alex RUFER (promoted), 19.Tom DOYLE (returns from injury)

Phoenix left-back Tom Doyle on the burst against Sydney FC.

Outs:  Nil

Unavailable:  10.Michael McGLINCHEY (knee – 5-6 weeks)

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, 20.Paul IZZO (gk), 21.Michael NEILL, 22.Jake McGING, 25.Ryan PETERSON
**two to be omitted** 

Ins:  4.Jacob POSCOLIERO (promoted), 8.Nick MONTGOMERY (returns from injury), 13.Kwabena APPIAH (promoted)

Nick Montgomery

Outs:  17.Josh BINGHAM (omitted)

Unavailable:  10.Mickael TAVARES (ankle – 2 weeks), 19.Jacques FATY (knee – 1 week), 23.Jake ADELSON (ACL – indefinite)


It’s been a dramatic week across the Tasman with Merrick calling it quits, with long-time assistant Chris Greenacre and Des Buckingham taking the reins.

Sometimes a change can spark an immediate response. Who knows?

Ernie Merrick

A home clash – although at a new venue in Hamilton – against a Mariners side coming off a 4-1 loss last weekend could be just the tonic. 

An under-strength Phoenix got the better of Central Coast 2-0 just four weeks ago in Canberra, and will fancy their chances of repeating the dose, regardless of the turmoil.

It will be interesting to see what if any changes the new coaching team make to the starting XI, with left-back Tom Foyle available again from injury.

The Mariners’ hot-and-cold season continued with that loss to the Wanderers last Saturday which saw them drop out of the top six.

Roy O'Donovan says the Mariners need to reinforce their squad.

It was a very inexperienced side coach Paul Okon put out, with striker Roy O’Donovan the only player over the age of 25.

That will change on Saturday with skipper Nick Montgomery returning to the squad, adding some steel to the midfield but Mickael Tavares returned to France this week to continue his rehab for an ankle problem.


Hyundai A-League Rd 10 Opta Stats preview


Despite boasting a star-studded front-five, Wellington has struggled for goals so far in the 2016/17 Season. 

Flying Fijian Roy Krishna has been their main outlet, scoring five of their six goals, including a brace in the win over the Mariners in Canberra.

Roy Krishna

He’ll be ruing the missed penalty against the Reds last weekend. But it will be more about getting end product from the likes of Kosta Barbarouses and Gui Finkler, who so far have failed to live up to their reputations after their high-profile moves from Melbourne Victory.

Big striker Hamish Watson could force his way into the starting side after bullying the young Mariners defence in the previous meeting, when the Nix were without a clutch of All Whites.

Despite their inconsistency, the Mariners have shown some encouraging signs going forward at different stages over the first two months.

The speed of Connor Pain and Trent Buhagiar out wide is their biggest asset.

Trent Buhagiar has re-signed with the Mariners.

Along with Fabio Ferreira, the Mariners have pace to burn.

They’ll hope Roy O’Donovan packs his shooting boots as well after he failed to convert a couple of excellent opportunities last time out.


Ernie Merrick. He exited with class and plenty of admirers. 

FORM LINES (last five games)

Phoenix: LWWLL

Mariners: WLDWL


Wellington Phoenix 3-2 Central Coast Mariners