OVER the last fortnight the Western NSW Mariners FC has defied the odds to earn points against more fancied National Premier Leagues 3 rivals, but this Sunday the men in yellow will be favourites.
However, even though the Mariners outfit which is finally getting reward for effort is expected to account for the winless Balmain, coach Andrew Fearnley is warning against complacency.
He is still bitter when he recalls last season’s 3-0 loss to the Tigers – a game he felt his Mariners should have won.
“Last year they were awful and they beat us, so we can’t rest on our laurels,” Fearnley said.
“We’ve got to make sure that we have the same intensity in this game as we’ve had the last couple of weeks and if we take our chances, I’m sure we’ll get the result.
“We just can’t get caught being complacent against these guys or it will bite us.”
Complacency has not been a problem over the last fortnight for the Mariners as the side came from behind to draw with SD Raiders and beat Dulwich Hill – teams which are positioned well above Western on the ladder.
The key to gaining points in those games was being able to convert chances, something which Mariners had struggled with earlier in the season.
Fearnley wants to see another early goal this Sunday against the Tigers.
“Gladesville, Hawkesbury, we’ve gone in at half-time at nil-nil when we’ve been the better team and not scored. The last two weeks the difference has been we scored and we’ve got points from that,” the coach said.
“You’ve got to take your chances when you dominate, the last two weeks we’ve done that and we’ve got points.
“That has certainly been pleasing and we’ve got to make sure we carry that into the game against Balmain.”
Balmain has just one point from 10 rounds to sit seven points behind the Mariners in last spot. That is exactly where Fearnley wants the Tigers to stay.
“There’s been some good rivalry with Balmain in the last four years. The first year we got saved from relegation by beating them and stopping them win the premiership, then they knocked us out of the [FFA] Cup and went on to play Melbourne Victory,” he said.
“Then last year we beat them, but then they came down and beat us the second time when they weren’t playing well.
“So there’s some good rivalry there, we just have to continue our form into the game, not worry where people are on the table, not get ahead of ourselves and the result will take care of itself.
“Then we can look at starting to build so we can make a run.”
Sunday’s match between Balmain Tigers and the Mariners at Wentworth Park will kick-off at 3pm.