The Central Coast Mariners have scored a morale boosting 5-0 win over Oceanic challengers New Caledonia at Budgewoi’s Frank Millington Oval today, one week out from their opening match of the new
Hyundai A-League season.


First half goals from Nik Mrdja and Adam Kwasnik were added to by Sasho Petrovski, Damien Brown, and Mrdja again in the second stanza, as the Mariners saw off a stubborn challenge from a New
Caledonian side that will begin their quest for a 2010 FIFA World Cup berth in eight days time.


The Mariners will take heart from what was an utterly dominant display from minute one to minute ninety, made all the more satisfying after goal scoring contributions from key marksmen Kwasnik,
Mrdja and Petrovski.

Furthermore, fit again midfielder Greg Owens played out the entire second half and manufactured several goal scoring chances, while Socceroo icon Tony Vidmar continued his recovery from recent
injury and illness concerns with an assured forty-five minutes in central defence.

Mariners Football Manager Lawrie McKinna used all but four of his 22-man squad throughout the course of the match, with only injured defender Paul O’Grady and absent youth internationals Bradley
Porter, Andrew Redmayne and Danny Vukovic failing to make an appearance at this uniquely international event.

“The park was in reasonable nick, but it was quite bumpy and sometimes it was hard, but overall, we scored five goals and whether it’s New Caledonia or not, it’s a national team and I don’t think
they had one shot,” said Mariners Football Manager Lawrie McKinna.

“Everybody did their bit, there was some great football and maybe a bit of over-passing at times because we could, but it was a good hit out before the season.”

Mrdja’s opener came about after some solid groundwork by midfielder Andre Gumprecht, who fired in a precise cross from the right hand touchline that was eased home by the Mariners’ number nine.


The Mariners were desperately unlucky not to be two goals to the good by this early stage, after defender Nigel Boogaard underlined his value from set pieces by forcing a pair of desperate goal
line clearances from Tom Pondeljak’s corners.


Midfield ace Mile Jedinak was forced from the field with only 19 minutes on the clock due to a slight knee concern, with John Hutchinson introduced as a precautionary measure.


Following his introduction, Hutchinson asserted his influence in central midfield, and along with goal scorer Kwasnik was one of the Mariners’ best throughout the match.

After Mrdja nodded home his second from a Kwasnik cross following Petrovski’s strike early in the second half, substitutes Matt Simon and Brown combined to complete the rout in the 79th minute.

Simon held off several defenders and showcased some delightful touches before providing an inch-perfect centre for Brown, who duly slotted home from close range.


At the other end, Mariners custodian Matthew Trott was a virtual spectator, with sole New Caledonian strike option Poulidor Toto and second half substitute Luther Wahnyamalla failing to register a
single shot on target throughout the match.

Indeed, this was an assured, comfortable and controlled performance from the yellow and navy – one that augurs well for their third Hyundai A-League campaign.


“Overall it was good, we’re very happy with the run and very happy that Budgewoi Football Club put this on today, because at short notice they’ve done a very good job,” said McKinna.


“Basically everybody is available apart from Paul O’Grady – big Mile Jedinak pulled up sore in the first 15 minutes so we’ll have to see how he is through the week but we’re happy with the squad
we’re going to have to pick from for the Sydney game.”


The Mariners’ third Hyundai A-League campaign will officially begin in seven days time, when they travel to the Sydney Football Stadium to take on southern rivals Sydney FC on Friday, 24 August.
Kick off is 8pm.


OFC General Secretary Tai Nicholas speaks about XIII South Pacific Games