CENTRAL COAST V WELLINGTON Saturday afternoon, GIO Stadium
This is one of the hardest games of the round to pick.
Both teams have struggled through the first month of the competition for various reasons but come into this off much-needed wins.
Central Coast scored their first win since Round 17 last year when they came from behind to beat reigning champions Adelaide on the road, 2-1 which was highlighted by a brilliant strike from Connor Pain.
Wellington, who were held scoreless in the opening three weeks, were belted 6-1 by the Victory on Melbourne Cup eve but bounced back in style by doubling-up on the Jets (2-0) at home for their first win of the season.
HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS
Unbelievably, Central Coast has played four of the opening five rounds on the road and even though is a ‘home’ game for them, it will be held on neutral ground in Canberra.
That said they should still have the weight of crowd support behind them.
All five of their points have been captured on the road which included that epic comeback in Round 1 where they drew 3-3 after trailing by three at the break.
Starting the season on the back foot with four straight losses, Ernie Merrick’s side looked strongly in dealing out a lesson to the Jets. The big question now is can they keep it going?
Their efforts on the road haven’t been spectacular this season with losses to Perth and the Victory in their only two attempts so far. What’s more alarming is they are conceding four goals a game on the road.
The Mariners haven’t lost to the Phoenix in their last three games with the two most recent wins being 3-1 results – one at home and one on the road.
Prior to that Wellington had won two of the last three matches and in each of the last six contests both teams have managed to find the back of the net.
HOW IT PANS OUT
Wellington needs to improve their efforts on the road but with this being an international weekend, they are likely to be missing several of their key players including Roy Krishna who has scored their only three goals of the season.
That being the case then it gives Paul Okon and his side the best chance of knocking up another three points. They have been really good over the past fortnight and their win against Adelaide last week was thoroughly deserved.
THE TIP: Central Coast
TOTAL GOALS OVER/UNDER 2.5 GOALS: Go the Overs