Where does this Mariners side sit in the A-Leagues GOAT debate? ‘Got to be up there’

Central Coast Mariners defender Storm Roux addresses the media ahead of his side's Semi-Final clash with Sydney FC in Gosford

Central Coast Mariners full-back Storm Roux believes winning silverware both at home and abroad in the same season has put his side in the conversation as one of the greatest A-Leagues teams of all time.

The reigning Isuzu UTE A-League Champions are looking to go back-to-back this season, and have a 2-1 advantage over Sydney FC ahead of the second leg of their Semi-Final clash, set to take place at Industree Group Stadium on Saturday night.

Should the Mariners overcome the Sky Blues they’ll reach a second-consecutive Grand Final and face either Wellington Phoenix or Melbourne Victory in the title decider.


Central Coast v Sydney FC at Industree Group Stadium!
Wellington Phoenix v Melbourne Victory at Sky Stadium!

Triumph in this season’s Grand Final would complete an unprecedented treble for the Gosford side; having already secured the Isuzu UTE A-League Premiers Plate, the Mariners travelled to Oman in early May to defeat Al Ahed in the AFC Cup Final, to become just the second A-Leagues club to lift silverware in Asian competition.

In the build-up to Saturday’s Semi-Final second leg against Sydney, Roux was asked where he believes the Mariners’ 2023-24 campaign ranks among the great performances by Isuzu UTE A-League teams in history, as they push towards a trophy treble.

“It’s got to be up there,” Roux said. “Not only have we won the AFC Cup, won the Premiership, but we’re doing it at the same time. No one really understands how hard it is, with the travel and all that sort of stuff, backing up games, getting results and playing under pressure. 

“It’s got to be up there with one of the greatest A-League teams of all time in my opinion.”

“We’ve won two trophies in the last week and a half, so we’re full of confidence,” he added. “If you had told us at the start of the season we’d be in this position we wouldn’t have believed you, but we kept the confidence going throughout the season, and the belief, and we deserve to be where we are.

“We fully know that, we’re confident in ourselves that we’re the best team in the league. We need to prove that now with a Grand Final win.”

Get your tickets to see Central Coast v Sydney FC at Industree Group Stadium!

The Mariners face a wounded Sydney FC in the return leg in Gosford, as the Sky Blues count the cost of mounting injury and suspension concerns.

Sydney’s Jake Girdwood-Reich suffered a corked thigh in the first half of the 2-1 defeat and the club is yet to confirm whether or not the 19-year-old will recover in time to feature in the second leg.

The injury blow to Girdwood-Reich was compounded by two red cards to Jack Rodwell and Corey Hollman who will both miss the second leg tie; on Monday afternoon, Football Australia’s independent Match Review Panel confirmed a two-game ban for Rodwell, and a one-game ban for young midfielder Hollman after the two Sky Blues were sent off in the first leg.

SEMI-FINAL SUSPENSIONS: Jack Rodwell learns length of ban for Semi-Final red card as appeal timeframe set

“I think they were both red cards, so I don’t think you can complain too much,” said Roux, when asked by a reporter about the “contentious” nature of the two send-offs at Allianz Stadium.

“I don’t think we got under their skin, I just think we stuck to our game plan and what happened happened.

“We probably should’ve pushed on a bit more to try and get a few more goals with the two-man advantage but hey, that didn’t happen. We just have to get the job done at home.”

For the second season running, the Mariners are hosting the second leg of a Semi-Final tie for a place in the Grand Final. Just like last season, Central Coast won the first leg 2-1 away from home and returned to Gosford to defeat Adelaide 2-0 in the return leg to progress to the decider.

“It reminds me of last season when we had Adelaide in the Semi-Finals at home, 20,000+ people, it’s always good to have the stadium buzzing and all the fans packed in,” Roux said.

“Experience is valuable. We’ve got a very young team and for a lot of them (the Sydney Semi-Final) was their first finals game… to go and win the Grand Final, all the boys who were here last season have got that experience.

“We know what to expect and how to play in front of a big crowd like that. Especially the pressure of it being at home and getting the job done. Only great experiences for the young boys.”

Get your tickets to see Central Coast v Sydney FC at Industree Group Stadium!