‘One of the best fullbacks in Australia’: Just how high is Jacob Farrell’s ceiling?


Jacob Farrell may be one of the most effective players currently playing in the A-League. The Central Coast Mariners youngster proved to be a dominant full-back over the two seasons he has played and is now in his third season with the Mariners at the age of 21.

Given his breakthrough under Nick Montgomery in the 2021–22 A-League season, Farrell memorably started and scored on his league debut in the opening round against Newcastle Jets. The Gosford native would accumulate 50 league appearances by his second season, including three goals and three assists.

The young full-back is starting regularly now under Mark Jackson, following Montgomery’s departure to Scotland before the 2023–24 season. The Mariners faced a poor start, losing to Adelaide United in the opening round of the campaign and faced three successive defeats before their first win against F3 Derby rivals Newcastle Jets. Farrell faced suspension that same game after accumulating two yellow cards.

Farrell, in particular, has been the main man in defence, proving his defensive capabilities for the Mariners in the six league appearances he has made.

He has so far started in all of the league matches he featured as his side currently sits ninth after winning three and drawing two in their last five games (AFC Cup included).

Although a defensive-minded full-back, Farrell is also capable of providing attacking opportunities for his teammates. He has created three big chances for his side, although none has turned into assists, with eight key passes and a 79 per cent passing success rate in total. However, he is much weaker in crosses and long balls, with a success rate of 46 per cent and 33 per cent respectively.

In defence, Farrell can be considered as one of the best defenders in the A-League and even more so as one of the best fullbacks currently in Australia. Farrell sits first in interceptions with 21 interceptions made and ground duels won with a 68 per cent success rate, taking the ball off the opposition 28 times and making 15 tackles.

In terms of dribbling, Farrell has shown composure and intelligence when dribbling, completing three successful dribbles out of the five he has attempted. In contrast, he also shows resilience and determination combined with his pace to pressure technical opposition, having only been dribbled past twice so far in defence.

In total defensively, Farrell has made 119 tackles, 80 interceptions and kept seven clean sheets from the two previous seasons during which he won an A-League Grand Final last season. Compared with other fullbacks, Farrell is statistically proven to be effective defensively and on the forward front.

(Photo by Scott Gardiner/Getty Images)

Current Socceroos and Melbourne City left-back Aziz Behich has also been a consistent performer with City during their poor form, displaying the attacking capabilities he has built on throughout his career.

With the Socceroos’ Asian Cup campaign commencing soon, Farrell can be on Graham Arnold’s list for the future with his consistent performances for the Mariners. Although it may be too soon for the Central Coast Sports College graduate, considering the presence of Jordy Bos, who made his Socceroos debut this year.

A call-up for the national team may be a long way off but it is achievable for this capable defender. Time will tell if Farrell has what it takes with determination and attitude, but with his abilities on the pitch, he will be one of many to watch for in the future.

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