Roy O’Donovan (Brunei DPMM, Singapore), Mitchell Austin (Cambridge United, England), Josh Bingham (youth team), Jake McGing (youth team), Paul Izzo (Adelaide United), Harry Ascroft (VVV-Venlo), Daniel Heffernan (Heidelberg)
Four words: The Malik Mane disaster. Last season will be one that the Mariners are happy to forget quickly, managing only five wins for the season and finishing in eighth place. It was a big drop-off from 2013/14 where they finished third with twelve wins. It comes as no surprise that their goals dropped off and their defence leaked an extra 14 goals. Veteran John Hutchinson retired too and it will remain to be seen if he will be sorely missed.
The challenge for the Mariners will be returning to the high standards of the previous seasons before the last disaster. Can they sure up down back? Gone are the days of Duke, Simon and Flores, so it’s crucial that their forward three click. Tony Walmsley came in for the sacked Phil Moss and he has added some good personnel to his squad.
It’s been a mixed bag for the Mariners in pre-season, with six wins from ten games. Against the A-League clubs they have three wins and four losses; the wins over Newcastle (2-1), Western Sydney (3-2) and Sydney (3-1). Dan Heffernan (FWD, $125k) has lead the goal scoring with six, while fellow new forward Roy O’Donovan (FWD, $225k) snared three.
Predicted Round 1 side
You should consider…
Mitch Austin (MID, $100k) comes across from Cambridge and will be an important part of CCM’s forward thrusts at the start of the season. At the basement price it’s definitely worth the investment.
There are appears to be plenty of cheap options in defence: I think we’ll see Jacob Poscoliero (DEF, $125k), Eddy Bosnar (DEF, $150k) and Storm Roux (DEF, $150k) regularly enough, and even youngster Harry Ascroft (DEF, $125k) occasionally. However after conceding 50 goals last year (second most in the league), they’ll need to improve a lot to become decent scorers.
You should avoid…
There aren’t too many players at ridiculous prices for the Mariners, seemingly all on sale after last season. New skipper Nick Montgomery (MID, $175k) will play too deep to be worth his price-tag, and Anthony Caceres (MID, $250k) looks well overpriced too, despite his flashes of brilliance last season. There’s a lot of unknown about the whole Mariners squad, so tread with caution.