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Australian Football: Mariners need to bounce back

The battle just below Melbourne City hots up on Saturday with both Central Coast Mariners and Adelaide United in action.

City still look to have the minor premiership in the bag despite their defeat against Adelaide last week. Even so finishing in second spot is huge when it comes to playing finals and gives you an advantage over those below.

As things stand it looks to be a three-way battle for that spot between the Mariners, United and Western Sydney Wanderers. With just six rounds remaining every game is now crucial and it looks set to go right to the wire with a few twists and turns remaining.

But these two games on Saturday have to be seen as must-win. They are against teams they should be beating if they have aspirations to go all the way and win the Grand Final. Saying that there can be no room for complacency.

The A-League has a habit of throwing up some weird and wonderful results. Let’s take a closer look at Saturday’s action.

What:Central Coast Mariners v Macarthur
Where:Central Coast Stadium
When:17:00 (AEST) Saturday 11th March 2023
How to watch:Paramount+
Odds:Mariners 1.61, Draw 4.50, Macarthur 4.75

The Mariners remain in the thick of the action as far as the top two is concerned but they need to bounce back against Macarthur following a disappointing 2-0 loss to Western Sydney Wanderers last week. That defeat keeps them in fourth spot, three points behind Wanderers and Adelaide.

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Not only that both Wellington and Sydney are breathing down their necks and a place in the top six is not locked in either. Nick Montgomery’s side have also hit a rough patch at the worst possible time with the business end of the season approaching.

They have won just one game in the last five. It makes the home clash against the Bulls even more important. Macarthur have been on the slide themselves and nothing other than three points will do.

The Mariners will have to do without Brian Kaltak, Beni Nkololo and Moresche who are all suspended for the game, while Bradley Tapp is injured. Macarthur have been in turmoil since the departure of Dwight Yorke but they can take plenty of heart from a rare 3-2 victory over Brisbane Roar last week.

That came courtesy of a winning goal five minutes into stoppage time at the end of the game. The win and the manner of it should give them a big lift heading into Saturday’s game. Amazingly, despite recent issues, Macarthur are only three points away from the top six so a place in finals cannot be ruled out.

They just need to get on a run. The are boosted by the return of Lachlan Rose following a foot injury.

What:Newcastle Jets v Adelaide United
Where:Macdonald Jones Stadium
When:(AEST) Saturday 11th March 2023
How to watch:Paramount+
Odds:Jets 2.62, Draw 3.50, United 2.55

The Jets are still in with a shout of making the top six as they sit in seventh spot on the ladder and are just three points behind Sydney FC directly above them. However after a good run of form to take them up the ladder they have since hit a brick wall when losing the last two games.

They need to get back on track and their run-in for the rest of the season is a mixed bag as they have some top sides still to play, starting on Saturday.

Adelaide United are flying high and will be on cloud nine after beating leaders Melbourne City 4-2 last weekend. The Reds will be full of confidence as they are hitting the back of the net on a regular basis.

They are averaging three goals a game over the last four games and we could be in for a high-scoring one on Saturday. Over 2.5 goals in the game can be backed at 1.57.

Nestory Irankunda is the talk of the town at the moment as the young gun chipped in with another goal against City. He is being tipped for the very top and can be backed at 2.60 to score at anytime during the game.

Newcastle are boosted by the return of Beka Mikeltadze who is also available at 2.60 to score anytime, and key midfielder Callum Timmins. Adelaide are still without some big names through injury but it is not stopping them and Carl Veart has no fresh issues following the win over Melbourne City so the side will have a very familiar look to it.

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