Central Coast Mariners clinch A-League Premiership with win over Adelaide


Central Coast Mariners are premiers of A-League Men for the first time in 12 years after defeating Adelaide United 2-0.

Heading into Wednesday night’s clash the Mariners needed just a draw to finish the regular season in top spot and deny the Wellington Phoenix their first premiership.

But there was to be no happy ending for the New Zealanders, with Jacob Farrell and Max Balard scoring goals to secure the premiers plate for the Mariners at a rain-soaked Industree Group Stadium.

It caps a remarkable campaign for the Mariners under Mark Jackson, who has kept up with Wellington all season and reached the final of Sunday’s AFC Cup.

But even if the onus was on the Mariners to ensure they wrapped up first place, it was Adelaide who began with a greater intensity.

Hiroshi Ibusuki tested Danny Vukovic early and the Mariners goalkeeper was then forced to deny Stefan Mauk from close range.

Mariners are crown premiers during the A-League Men round 25 match between Central Coast Mariners and Adelaide United at Industree Group Stadium, on May 01, 2024, in Gosford, Australia. (Photo by Scott Gardiner/Getty Images) (Photo by Scott Gardiner/Getty Images)

Nestory Irankunda – playing in his final game before departing for Bayern Munich – had a trademark rocket blocked by Brian Kaltak.

Adelaide were edging nearer to an opening goal but the Mariners weathered the storm and went on the attack.

Winger Christian Theoharous was making things happen and had an effort parried away by Adelaide goalkeeper Ethan Cox.

But there was little Cox could do when Mikael Doka floated in a free-kick from the left and Farrell nipped in at the back post to head in a 36th-minute opener.

Leading 1-0 at half-time the Mariners upped the ante, Brad Tapp and Doka both troubling Cox, who did an admirable job on his senior debut.


Mariners Medallist on Monday. Scores the goal that could seal silverware on Wednesday. The Mariners academy graduate puts his side on the cusp of history!

Tune in NOW on Paramount+ ????#CCMvADL #ALM pic.twitter.com/CyRhBPXM1h

— Isuzu UTE A-League (@aleaguemen) May 1, 2024

Irankunda went closest to pulling one back for the Reds, forcing Vukovic into a fingertip save.

But the 18-year-old began to become increasingly frustrated and earned himself a yellow card after lunging carelessly into one challenge.

As Adelaide seethed with referee Alex King, the Mariners were far more composed and raced down field where Balard was free in space.

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With a cool finish the midfielder buried the ball past Cox in the 76th minute, securing the Mariners’ first premiership since the 2011-12 season when Graham Arnold was in charge.

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