One against Ku-Ring-Gai?s Northern Tigers, a Hyundai A-League exhibition against the Newcastle Jets in Canberra and an international fixture against New Zealand?s Under 23?s at Wahroonga?s Knox Grammar School.
Having travelled to central Queensland a fortnight ago after staging annual pre-season trials on the Central Coast and at Gladesville, the Mariners will continue to promote the Hyundai A-League to audiences far and wide by taking in three stops south of the Central Coast before the 2008 Pre-Season Cup kick off.
First up will be the challenge of NSW Super League outfit the Northern Tigers at Mills Park on Tuesday, 1 July.
The Tigers presently sit mid-table in the state?s second tier competition, above fellow Super League challengers and official Mariners feeder club the Central Coast Lightning.
The Tigers are the representative club of the Ku-Ring-Gai & District Soccer Association (KDSA), one of seven local football associations to benefit from a partnership with the Mariners.
The KDSA is one of the largest grassroots associations in NSW, boasting over 16,000 registered players of all ages across 36 local clubs, all of which are located within an hour of the Mariners? picturesque Bluetongue Stadium home.
The Mariners will then travel to Canberra for the second time this pre-season to take on northern rivals and 2008 Hyundai A-League Grand Final adversaries the Jets at Canberra Stadium ? the flagship sporting venue of the nation?s capital, on Saturday, 12 July.
The Mariners will first line up against the Jets in a trial match at Budgewoi?s Frank Millington Field this Saturday, 21 June, before putting on a show for Hyundai A-League fans in the Australian Capital Territory some three weeks later ? an event that further builds upon the strong relationship between the Mariners, local governing body Capital Football and the Canberran public.
Finally, the Mariners will host New Zealand?s Beijing-bound Under 23?s squad at Knox Grammar School on Tuesday, 15 July ? five days out from the Mariners? opening 2008 Pre-Season Cup match away to the Wellington Phoenix.
The New Zealand Under 23?s, nicknamed the Olywhites, qualified for August?s Olympic Games after proving themselves as Oceania?s best at March?s Oceania Football Confederation qualification tournament in Fiji.
Over two weeks in the south pacific, New Zealand won five straight games to book their place in Beijing, where former or current Hyundai A-League starlets Jeremy Brockie, Costa Barbarouses and Steven Old will potentially be joined by some of the best senior exports from across the Tasman, including Blackburn Rovers captain Ryan Nelsen and fringe Celtic marksman Chris Killen.
“At the conclusion of these three fixtures we will have played ten pre-season trial matches ? a number greater than any pre-season program we have put together previously which augurs most positively for our Hyundai A-League preparations,” said Mariners Executive Chairman Lyall Gorman.
“Equally as positively, these matches allow us an opportunity to meet with our friends from the Ku-Ring-Gai region and from Canberra ? both areas that we have formalised partnerships with in the interests of talent identification, youth development and the general promotion of football and the Hyundai A-League.
“I?d like to thank our partners at Ku-Ring-Gai, at Capital Football and also Knox Grammar School and the ACT Government for helping to make these matches a reality ? matches that I am certain will be beneficial to the development of football in these areas and to the respective preparations of each of the teams involved.”
The Mariners? pre-season trial match program continues this week in the nation?s capital, starting with a fixture against powerhouse ACT Premier League side Belconnen United on Wednesday, 25 June and concluding with a match against local representative outfit the ACT Rockets on Friday, 27 June. Kick off for both matches is 7pm.
Northern Tigers vs. Central Coast Mariners
Mills Park, Asquith
Tuesday, 1 July, Kick off 7.30pm
Central Coast Mariners vs. Newcastle Jets
Canberra Stadium, Bruce
Saturday, 12 July, Kick off 1pm
Central Coast Mariners vs. New Zealand Under 23?s
Knox Grammar School, Wahroonga
Tuesday, 15 July, Kick off 3pm