Even Football Gods won’t save the Mariners

Athas Zafiris Roar Guru

By Athas Zafiris, Athas Zafiris is a Roar Guru

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    Central Coast Mariners Bernie Ibini pulls at the shirt of the Melbourne Heart's Curtis Good. AAP Image/Dean Lewins

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    According to my belief system, there is no god but football gods. They are there to remind us that the beautiful game, like life, is not just about winning and losing.

    This was the case last Wednesday night when I had a horrible feeling that AAMI Park was about to be visited by these omniscient beings.

    With five minutes left in the match between Melbourne Heart and Central Coast Mariners I looked at the football sage sitting next to me. In that instance, as if we had become mediums, we channeled the same thought. The football gods were about to pay us a visit.

    A rampant Melbourne Heart, who should have been two or three goals to the good, were about to experience a painful defeat.

    This eventuality was aided by Mariner’s goalkeeper Matt Ryan, who should have worn his underpants outside his shorts, as he stopped everything that came his way.

    When Michael McGlinchey picked up the ball on the right we called it in.

    It was like watching a slow motion replay. He tormented Rutger Worm, who was too mindful of his right foot, cut inside and delivered a cross with his left. A paralysed Brendan Hamill watched helplessly as the ball sailed past him for Adam Kwasnik to deliver the coup d’grace.

    Like life itself, the result proved, yet again, football’s capacity to deliver an injustice. The better side does not always win and happy endings only are only guaranteed in Hollywood movies; no wonder many Americans have such a hard time embracing the game.

    “We got three points we didn’t deserve tonight,” Mariners manager, Graham Arnold said after the match.

    “To lose a game like that at the end is very hard,” said the crestfallen Heart manager, John van’t Schip.

    Arnold is no stranger to this desolate feeling.

    A feeling he hopes not to revisit in April when the football gods cast their eye over this season’s A-League Grand Final.

    Unfortunately for Arnold I can’t see the Mariners winning the championship, let alone reaching the Grand Final.

    This time the football gods will take a back seat to football Darwinism. The race to the championship will become a case of survival of the fittest.
    The Mariners will struggle to adapt to the punishing schedule of mid-week Asian Champions League matches and A-League finals.

    To make things worse they face the prospect of losing some very important players in this period if the Olyroos happen to finish second in their qualifying group. A likely scenario.

    It will also be difficult for Brisbane Roar, but if they were to finish one-two as predicted I would be picking only Brisbane to make it to the Grand Final.

    Even the football gods won’t be able to save the Central Coast Mariners this time.

    Athas Zafiris is on Twitter @ArtSapphire

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    The Crowd Says (24)

    • January 21st 2012 @ 6:02am
      nordster said | January 21st 2012 @ 6:02am | ! Report

      Athas, the Premiership is a title too, just sayin’ … not a mention in your writeup LOL i expect better! Cup/finals comps are lottery-ish. Nice silverware but not the league

      and please, none of this “strayans only luv grand finals” stuff 😉 (Leave that for the other Roar experts.)

      with the mid-week ACL congestion lets hope they prioritise the Asian campaign

      • January 21st 2012 @ 9:06am
        Athas Zafiris said | January 21st 2012 @ 9:06am | ! Report

        Haha Nordster, if there were no A-League finals. I’d probably find a way for the Mariners not to win a deserved premiership. Only joking 🙂

        • January 21st 2012 @ 12:01pm
          nordster said | January 21st 2012 @ 12:01pm | ! Report

          just reading Philip’s post further down … CCM as the “good ordinary” team … Adelaide have sometimes been considered the same, and they often have done well in the League Premiership race.

          so what do u reckon about a parallel to AUFC’s Asia campaign taking them to the ACL final? Do the Mariners have the same qualities and will that translate well to them getting out of the group?

          though from memory AU were coming off the back of bottom of the league the season leading up to their campaign… so maybe i’m shooting down my argument somewhat. But as for playing style, they may well be solid enough to make it through.

          • January 21st 2012 @ 1:31pm
            Athas Zafiris said | January 21st 2012 @ 1:31pm | ! Report

            Nordster – Have you seen how congested CCM calendar is going to be in March and April?
            It’s going to be a huge test for both CCM and the Roar.
            Regardless of how their playing style’s will translate to ACL, CCM don’t have the depth.
            We saw that last week when Porter played in place of Bojic.

            • January 21st 2012 @ 2:04pm
              Dean said | January 21st 2012 @ 2:04pm | ! Report

              MVFC & other HAL teams playing in the group stages of the ACL have faced the same congested fixture. In 2010, MVFC played 120′ HAL semi-final & qualified for HAL GF then, less than 48 hours later, played evenutal ACL Champions, Seongnam, in the ACL. Then, after the HAL GF went to extra-time & penalties with the game finishing around 11:00 p.m., MVFC had to fly to Japan 3 hours later!

              • January 21st 2012 @ 2:13pm
                Athas Zafiris said | January 21st 2012 @ 2:13pm | ! Report

                Dean – Victory did not have to travel Sth Korea four days before the biggest match of the year – the A-League GF like CCM have to.

                Also 4 of Victory’s 6 ACL matches in 2010 were played after the HAL GF.
                Only 1 of CCM’s & Roar’s 6 matches is after the HAF GF.

                This means they have to fit in 5 ACL games during the HAL season & finals as opposed to Victory’s 2.

              • January 22nd 2012 @ 6:14am
                nordster said | January 22nd 2012 @ 6:14am | ! Report

                if they want to get the best out of the ACL, i think they do need to rest players perhaps more than others have done in the past. Arnie is taking the opportunity to do that now which should be noted.

                and when it comes down to it, CCM will have to make a few calls on prioritising one or the other. For me its Asia all the way. (Not making the cup/grand final would ease the congestion a little at least!) And they can get the youth team kids in there to make a name for themselves in the finals cup.

                oh yeah and ELEVEN points clear, “good ordinary” is looking pretty NICE 🙂

      • January 22nd 2012 @ 10:40am
        Bondy said | January 22nd 2012 @ 10:40am | ! Report

        Premierships are the priority in futbol always has and always will be .

    • January 21st 2012 @ 8:18am
      Kasey said | January 21st 2012 @ 8:18am | ! Report

      The football Gods are a strange and fickle group. I firmly believe in them, I just knew we were in for a rough time when at Suncorp last year for the Socceroos v Thailand, I heard the bloke behind me tempting said deities with “bloody hell, if we’re not 4 up at half time against this lot, we’re in trouble”[English accent – should have known better IMO] 🙁 Not even my “what the f*ck are you thinking?”glare and muttered apology to the FGs saved us that night, the war elephants taking the lead in the 19th minute:(

    • January 21st 2012 @ 9:33am
      Philipcoates said | January 21st 2012 @ 9:33am | ! Report

      The football gods have been kind to CCM all year. I can’t believe they are so far ahead on the table. As the AFL guru Jack Dyer might have said, they are a good ordinary team. There is no magic in their side and I find them often quite dour to watch. A solid defence, more grunt than talent in mid field other than Amini who is good but inconsistent, an aged forward line other than Ibini a young talent but not as good as Babalj of Heart, and yet they keep winning.

      I hope they do well in Asia because I’ll support any Aussie club in the Asian comp but I hope you,re right and their A-League campaign starts to reflect their status of what I think is an ordinary team.

    • January 21st 2012 @ 10:37am
      jamesb said | January 21st 2012 @ 10:37am | ! Report

      i still think Brisbane Roar are the favourites. At full strength, the Roar are easily the best side.

      Broich’s injury has brought them back to the field.I also reckon that in the finals the mariners will miss someone like Patricio Perez rather than Matt Simon

    • January 21st 2012 @ 12:29pm
      Realfootball said | January 21st 2012 @ 12:29pm | ! Report

      The Mariners, with a 9 point break, may hold on for the Premiership, but there is little doubt that with their best 11 players on the park, both Brisbane and Heart are significantly more potent teams. The key for Brisbane, as we have seen, is their best 11, because the second tier players are not up to standard.

      That being said, CCM without Matt Simon have certainly lost their edge up front, and this will hurt them in games to come.

      Like you, Athas, I do not expect the Mariners to make the Grand Final. However, they would be deserving winners of the Premier’s Plate.

      • January 21st 2012 @ 1:34pm
        Athas Zafiris said | January 21st 2012 @ 1:34pm | ! Report

        Agree Realfootball – they will be deserving premiers. They have shown great consistency this season.
        It’s not all over yet. With the Olyroos absence in Feb things will become very, very interesting.

    • January 21st 2012 @ 12:30pm
      Realfootball said | January 21st 2012 @ 12:30pm | ! Report

      Not sure why I am being moderated, mods. Have I transgressed some code without being aware of it?

      • January 21st 2012 @ 1:38pm
        Axelv said | January 21st 2012 @ 1:38pm | ! Report

        Key words get pending moderation, don’t take it personally.

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