Earlier today, Lawrie McKinna?s charges staged their first training session at their northern Central Coast base, where they will soon welcome the challenge of their 2008 Hyundai A-League Grand Final adversaries for the first time since February?s gripping decider in Sydney.
Next month?s match will feature many of the players that put on such a show at the aforementioned Sydney Football Stadium showpiece, as well as new Mariners recruits Adrian Caceres, Ahmad Elrich and Dylan Macallister.
Following the fixture, the Budgewoi Soccer Club will host a post-match function and dinner that will be attended by Mariners and Jets players and will feature a question and answer segment with Mariners Football Manager McKinna and Jets counterpart Gary van Egmond.
Limited tickets for the dinner will soon be made available to the public from the Budgewoi Soccer Club. Admission to the match itself will cost a gold coin.
“The Budgewoi Soccer Club has put a lot of effort into accommodating us to be up here for training and the match against Newcastle on 21 June will be a fantastic occasion,” said Mariners Football Manager McKinna.
“Although a lot of supporters here are Mariners fans, it?s easy access for the Jets fans as well and there should be a huge crowd here.
“Obviously we?ll have a few players missing and they will as well, but the fact is that we?ll be having a friendly game at Frank Millington Field that won?t be too friendly, because we can?t be getting too soft towards each other!
“It?ll be a great day promoting football in this region and the more fans that come on the day, the better, and hopefully they?ll come to more Mariners games and Jets games in the Hyundai A-League in the future.”
The home of Budgewoi FC has in fact hosted the Mariners on one occasion previously, in August of last year, when the yellow and navy defeated the national team of New Caledonia 5-0 in their final hit out before the Hyundai A-League 2007/08 season.
On this occasion, however, a record attendance is almost certain to descend upon Frank Millington Field, which sits approximately the same distance between the Mariners? Bluetongue Stadium home and the Jets? abode at EnergyAustralia Stadium.
“Budgewoi Soccer Club is looking forward to a fantastic working relationship with the Mariners,” said Budgewoi Soccer Club Football Administrator Haydn Appo.
“The Mariners are second to none when it comes to their professionalism both on the field and in the corporate world.
“Their involvement with the everyday families of the Central Coast is a credit to Lyall Gorman, Lawrie McKinna, the players and staff and to think that we can help them with this process is very exciting.”
Before taking on the Jets at Frank Millington Field on Saturday, 21 June, the Mariners will open their pre-season campaign against NSW Super League challengers the Central Coast Lightning at Pluim Park next Tuesday, 20 May. Kick off is at 7.30pm.
Tickets are available at the gate on match day and are $5 for adults and $2 for concessions, while children under the age of 16 are able to be admitted for free.