This might seem out of place, coming after a post about Ronaldhino …
But my respect for the Mariners has become admiration. The high points this season have been quite high – and now they are back going through some tough times again.
I think it was the game against the Vic that they won at Ettihad. Physical, fast, direct and organised. I really enjoyed what I saw that night. When I went into forum land afterwards I saw another round of posts dismissing their long ball game, and their bullying of the smaller, more skilful Vic.
What I saw during that game was fast forward movement, with intent. Balls to feet and balls to space. An excellent defensive and attacking display by Pej Bojic. Midfielders advancing past their forwards. A confident, organised team that moved as a group. I didn`t see this “longball” that some people disdain so much. And to see complaints of bullying from fans of a team who have physical players like Muscat, Leijer, Vargas, Brebner and Broxham on their books was hard to understand.
I saw good football and a team that wasn`t getting their due respect. My contrarian streak was turning me towards the Mariners.
And then the expectation within the team became too much and they have done it tough ever since. Liverpool fans could tell you a story or two about the weight of expectation.
They might fix their season, they might not. But some of my favourite Season 5 moments have been Mariners moments.
That 3 – 0 win over Gold Coast. The rich, talented GCU had had their halos knocked askew by their first loss of the season – a loss to a tactically astute Newcastle. Then the week after Central Coast knocked the halos completely off.
They clatter people. They are physical. They are dirty. Do I like them despite this or because of this? Beats me.
I think their style of play fits the Aussie temperment quite well. We are big. We like to kick people. I think the Mariners could be the future of Aussie football.
Pretty much any Aussie game in the ACL will be accompanied by growns about our thuggish game. Even the relatively pass focused Jets. When I was at the Aus vs Japan game in Yokohama, you could hear the Japanese fans shock at how often our players would kick their opponents. Hi Brett Holman. Hi Marco.