The Central Coast Mariners have been doing everything right in the off-season, and deserve a shot at the A-League title. Coach Alen Stajcic has recruited players specifically with experience and pitch authority.
Frustrated Central Coast coach Mike Mulvey wants linesmen to keep their flags down on tight offside calls and leave such rulings to unencumbered VAR officials.
Mike Mulvey wants video reviews do the work for trigger-happy linesmen, as he highlights holes in the A-League’s VAR system after another agonising Central Coast loss.
Mulvey vented his frustration at key moments in Saturday’s 3-2 defeat in Wellington, including Kye Rowles’ straight red card for a foul on a goal-bound Roy Krishna in the first minute of the second half.
Krishna scored from the spot to launch a Phoenix comeback from 2-0 down, consigning the visitors to a 10th-straight defeat.
“Kai’s very very unlucky,” Mulvey said.
“He’s chased back and the boy’s (Krishna) just skipped across his feet and caught his leg. I’m not sure if that’s a straight red.”
There were other VAR moments which irked Mulvey.
His biggest gripe was an 86th-minute offside ruling after substitute Jordan Murray thought he had scored an equaliser.
VAR officials agreed with linesman Mark Rule, even though replays appeared inconclusive.
Mulvey wondered if the video angles available to the VAR were sufficient.
More importantly, he didn’t think it fair that video officials supported the decisions of referees and linesmen as a matter of course when the call was close.
With reviews available, he advocated linesmen keep their flags down and let replays determine such critical rulings.
“The best idea is to let the guys in the studio discuss all that,” he said.
“They’re not too willing to dob one of their own in, and that’s human nature. I’m an advocate of, maybe, ex-players in there.
“How can the linesman give that in the first place? That should be a question of let it play and let’s go back to the VAR to check on that. We want legitimacy. If it was offside and they show me and prove it to me, I’ll hold my hands up to it.”
There was enough before the break to suggest the Mariners would accumulate more than the two points they’d managed through their first 12 games.
Striker Tommy Oar and midfielder Tom Hiariej provided quality in their first starts for two months, while former Western Sydney centre back Jonathan Aspropotamitis was described as a “rock” by Mulvey in his first appearance in a year.
Despite conceding 12 goals in their past three games, Mulvey believes Central Coast will mount a challenge in Wednesday’s catch-up game against Melbourne City in Gosford.
“We just found another way to find a loss. We need a win because that will kick-start some kind of energy,” he said.
“There’s still a few games left. We’ll get quite a few points – no doubt about that.”