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Title blow for Mariners as Europe calls for star trio

Date

Sebastian Hassett

In bound ... Tomas Rogic of the Mariners.

In bound ... Tomas Rogic of the Mariners. Photo: Getty Images

WITH his team on the cusp of A-League glory, Central Coast Mariners coach Graham Arnold says his club is fighting its biggest challenge - a host of European clubs looking to prise away his best players.

Next week the Mariners, who have built their squad by developing local talent, will lose their three best young players to overseas trials. Attacking maestro Tom Rogic, 20, will train with Celtic, keeper Mat Ryan will link with Rangers and Bernie Ibini will spend 10 days with Club Brugge.

Fairfax Media understands the 13-time Belgian champions and former European Cup finalists have also submitted an offer of €250,000 ($309,000) for Ibini's services but the Mariners are holding out for a bigger deal and hope the Nigerian-born striker will impress enough to warrant an increased bid.

Ibini will begin his trial after playing in Saturday night's match against Melbourne Victory in Launceston, a potential grand final preview that pits the league's two in-form teams against each other.

The Mariners have learnt Brugge have been monitoring their matches online this season, and are also interested in making substantial offers for Rogic and Ryan.

Arnold is desperate to keep the pair, and will offer Rogic terms to make him the club's under-23 marquee next season. Ryan is also in line for a sizeable contract if he stays.

While the lure of European football is strong, it should not be forgotten the Mariners - who have lost three grand finals - are four points clear in first place and well placed to break their championship duck, if they can keep the star trio.

''For me as a coach, it's disappointing. I'm proud of the fact that the kids are getting recognised and developing well but when you build a squad in June-July-August, you don't plan to have it taken away in January,'' Arnold said. ''The hardest thing for us is the salary cap. It's not quite a restriction of trade, but when you've got to fit 23 players into a salary cap, $2.5 million doesn't go far. All of my kids are on minimum wage, or a little more, and if they do get overseas offers, it's attractive for them. I've always wanted to make them millionaires but when you're chasing a championship, losing players is tough.''

However, Arnold, who spent a stint in Belgium with RFC Liege, said if Ibini were to leave, at least he would be heading to an excellent club that would give him a chance to shine. ''I want all the boys to make the right move if they leave, and Club Brugge are one of the top teams in Belgium,'' he said.

The Mariners have agreed to sign midfielder Nick Fitzgerald, 20, who began his career in the Mariners youth team, from Brisbane for the next two seasons. Arnold said they would ask the Roar to release him this month if Ibini departs.

Hyundai A - 2014-15 - All Rounds

Round 1
Fri, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
VIC 4 vs WST 1 Report Stats
Sat, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
CCM 1 vs NEW Report Stats
SYD 1 vs MEC 1 Report Stats
Sun, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
WEL 1 vs PER 2 Report Stats
BRI 1 vs ADE 2 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 17 OctTimes shown AEDT
ADE 1 vs VIC 1 Report Stats
Sat, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
CCM 1 vs WEL 2 Report Stats
SYD 3 vs WST 2 Report Stats
Sun, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
MEC 1 vs NEW 1 Report Stats
PER 3 vs BRI 2 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 24 OctTimes shown AEDT
BRI vs SYD 2 Report Stats
Sat, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
VIC 5 vs MEC 2 Report Stats
Sun, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs NEW 16:00WS
ADE vs PER 17:00Coopers Stadium
Wed, 19 NovTimes shown AEDT
WST vs CCM 17:00Pirtek Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
MEC vs ADE 19:30AAMI
Sat, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
PER vs NEW 17:00NIB
WST vs BRI 19:30Pirtek Stadium
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs CCM 16:00AS
Mon, 03 NovTimes shown AEDT
VIC vs WEL 19:30AAMI
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 07 NovTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs WST 18:30WS
ADE vs SYD 20:15Coopers Stadium
Sat, 08 NovTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs VIC 17:00HUN
BRI vs MEC 20:30SS
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs PER 17:00Central Coast Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 14 NovTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs BRI 19:30HUN
Sat, 15 NovTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs WEL 17:00Coopers Stadium
SYD vs VIC 19:30AS
PER vs WST 21:45NIB
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
MEC vs CCM 17:00AAMI
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 21 NovTimes shown AEDT
VIC vs BRI 19:30ES
Sat, 22 NovTimes shown AEDT
WST vs NEW 17:00Pirtek Stadium
MEC vs SYD 19:30AAMI
PER vs WEL 21:45NIB
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs ADE 17:00Central Coast Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 28 NovTimes shown AEDT
VIC vs ADE 19:00AAMI
Sat, 29 NovTimes shown AEDT
BRI vs PER 17:00SS
WST vs SYD 19:30Pirtek Stadium
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs MEC 16:00WS
NEW vs CCM 17:00HUN
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Wed, 03 DecTimes shown AEDT
BRI vs NEW 20:00SS
Tue, 09 DecTimes shown AEDT
WST vs PER 19:30TBC
Thu, 08 JanTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs SYD 17:30WS
Mon, 02 FebTimes shown AEDT
VIC vs CCM 19:30AAMI
Wed, 25 MarTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs MEC 19:30Coopers Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Thu, 04 DecTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs PER 19:30AS
Fri, 05 DecTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs VIC 19:30TBC
Sat, 06 DecTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs WEL 17:00HUN
ADE vs WST 20:00Coopers Stadium
Sun, 07 DecTimes shown AEDT
MEC vs BRI 17:00AAMI
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 12 DecTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs BRI 19:30Coopers Stadium
PER vs NEW 21:45NIB
Sat, 13 DecTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs CCM 16:00EP
WST vs MEC 17:00Pirtek Stadium
VIC vs SYD 19:30ES
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Fri, 19 DecTimes shown AEDT
BRI vs WST 20:00SS
Sat, 20 DecTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs ADE 17:00HUN
MEC vs VIC 19:30AAMI
PER vs CCM 21:45NIB
Sun, 21 DecTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs WEL 17:00AS
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Fri, 26 DecTimes shown AEDT
MEC vs PER 17:30AAMI
SYD vs ADE 19:30AS
Sat, 27 DecTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs BRI 17:00Central Coast Stadium
VIC vs NEW 19:30AAMI
Sun, 28 DecTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs WST 17:00WS
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Tue, 30 DecTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs MEC 17:00HUN
BRI vs SYD 20:00SS
Wed, 31 DecTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs WEL 19:30Coopers Stadium
Thu, 01 JanTimes shown AEDT
WST vs CCM 19:30Pirtek Stadium
Fri, 02 JanTimes shown AEDT
VIC vs PER 19:30Simonds Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Sat, 03 JanTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs NEW 19:30WIN Stadium
Sun, 04 JanTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs BRI 15:00WS
CCM vs MEC 17:00Central Coast Stadium
Mon, 05 JanTimes shown AEDT
PER vs ADE 23:00NIB
Tue, 06 JanTimes shown AEDT
WST vs VIC 19:30Pirtek Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Sat, 24 JanTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs NEW 17:00Coopers Stadium
CCM vs SYD 19:30Central Coast Stadium
Sun, 25 JanTimes shown AEDT
PER vs VIC 20:00NIB
Sun, 01 FebTimes shown AEDT
BRI vs WEL 15:00SS
MEC vs WST 17:00AAMI
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Fri, 06 FebTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs BRI 19:30HUN
Sat, 07 FebTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs ADE 17:00Central Coast Stadium
VIC vs MEC 19:30ES
PER vs SYD 21:45NIB
Sun, 08 FebTimes shown AEDT
WST vs WEL 17:00Pirtek Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 13 FebTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs BRI 19:30Central Coast Stadium
Sat, 14 FebTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs MEC 16:00Brendan Foot Kia Hutt Recreation Ground
NEW vs WST 17:00HUN
SYD vs VIC 19:30AS
Sun, 15 FebTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs PER 17:00Coopers Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Fri, 20 FebTimes shown AEDT
BRI vs VIC 20:00SS
Sat, 21 FebTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs CCM 17:00AS
ADE vs WST 20:00Coopers Stadium
Sun, 22 FebTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs NEW 16:00Brendan Foot Kia Hutt Recreation Ground
MEC vs PER 17:00AAMI
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
MEC vs ADE 19:30AAMI
Sat, 28 FebTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs CCM 17:00HUN
WST vs SYD 19:30Pirtek Stadium
PER vs BRI 21:45NIB
Sun, 01 MarTimes shown AEDT
VIC vs WEL 17:00AAMI
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs SYD 19:30HUN
Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs ADE 18:00Brendan Foot Kia Hutt Recreation Ground
VIC vs PER 19:30AAMI
Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs MEC 15:00Central Coast Stadium
BRI vs WST 17:00SS
View All Fixtures
Round 22
Thu, 12 MarTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs CCM 19:30Coopers Stadium
Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
WST vs VIC 19:30Pirtek Stadium
Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs BRI 19:30AS
PER vs WEL 21:45NIB
Sun, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
MEC vs NEW 17:00AAMI
View All Fixtures
Round 23
Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs MEC 19:30AS
Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
WST vs NEW 17:00Pirtek Stadium
ADE vs VIC 20:00Coopers Stadium
Sun, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs PER 15:00Central Coast Stadium
BRI vs WEL 17:00SS
View All Fixtures
Round 24
Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
VIC vs CCM 19:30AAMI
Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
MEC vs BRI 19:30AAMI
PER vs WST 21:45NIB
Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs SYD 15:00WS
NEW vs ADE 17:00HUN
View All Fixtures
Round 25
Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
BRI vs CCM 21:00SS
Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
WST vs MEC 16:00Pirtek Stadium
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs ADE 19:30AS
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
WEL vs VIC 16:00WS
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
NEW vs PER 16:00HUN
View All Fixtures
Round 26
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
VIC vs NEW 19:30AAMI
PER vs SYD 21:45NIB
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
ADE vs BRI 17:00Coopers Stadium
CCM vs WST 19:30Central Coast Stadium
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
MEC vs WEL 17:00AAMI
View All Fixtures
Round 27
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
WEL vs CCM 17:30WS
NEW vs SYD 19:45HUN
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
WST vs ADE 17:00Pirtek Stadium
BRI vs VIC 19:30SS
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
PER vs MEC 17:00NIB
View All Fixtures
Hyundai A - 2014-15 - Ladder
Overall standings
Team P W D L +/- Pts
Melbourne Victory FC 3 2 1 0 6 7
Sydney FC 3 2 1 0 3 7
Perth Glory FC 2 2 0 0 2 6
Adelaide United FC 2 1 1 0 1 4
Wellington Phoenix FC 2 1 0 1 0 3
Central Coast Mariners FC 2 1 0 1 0 3
Melbourne City FC 3 0 2 1 -3 2
Newcastle Jets FC 2 0 1 1 -1 1
View all
 
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