Off the back of a fantastic month of football from Melbourne Victory they were well and truly back, with wins over two of their fiercest rivals in Adelaide United and Melbourne City.
Victory also enjoyed huge confidence building results in the Asian Champions League in recent weeks to suggest they're back in the championship race.
Meanwhile the Mariners' season is all but over, with players now playing for contracts either at their current club, or others.
It was a banana skin game for the three-time A-League champions, with their other encounters this season with the men from Gosford resulting in draws.
It was the Big V that turned up to play and apart from a 10 minute period in the 2nd half where the Mariners fought out a few chances, they easily dispatched the struggling Central Coast outfit in an absolute thumping, 5-2.
Lawrence Thomas – 7
First real involvement was a stop off a free kick which ended painfully for both himself, but more so Antony Golec. Wasn’t required for the remainder with very few Central Coast attacks making their way to the Goalkeeper. A deflection meant he could do little about Connor Pains late consolation.
Thomas Deng – 7
Put a lovely ball in for Berisha to head home but unfortunately, the A-League’s all-time leading goal scorer was offside again. Had a good night off and on the ball and was replaced on 60 minutes.
James Donachie – 6.5
Got involved when necessary. He simply wasn’t required very often. Miskicked a clearance that allowed Connor Pain to score late but the game was well and truly won.
Rhys Williams – 7.5
Stood tall in a calm performance and held off any attacking threats along with Donachie. Played a lovely cross field ball to gain an assist for Christian Theoharous late in the game.
Leigh Broxham – 6.5
The versatile veteran was filling the left back void but that didn’t stop him getting central and having the occasional pot shot.
Carl Valeri – 8
Blocked the passing lanes in midfield and along with Sanchez did an outstanding job of controlling the tempo of the game. The Mariners struggled severely to get through the midfield which forced them wide and into errors.
James Troisi – 6.5
Had some nice touches, with his telling involvement laying off for Berisha’s second. After a bit of a scare with his knee he was subbed off on 72 minutes for an early shower.
Matias Sanchez – 7
Another assured performance for the Argentine, building up to play consistent football with 80 minutes. Broke up a lot of the Mariners efforts to get through the midfield and dropped back to help out the defence when required.
Kosta Barbarouses – 5.5
Was having a quiet night and obviously not impressed with his output, he decided to make a telling contribution and tape up a hole in the net created by Leroy George. In such a dominant performance, Kosta was very quiet.
Besart Berisha – 9
Buried an early header but knew he was offside. Made up for it with an instinctive ball through to set up the on rushing Leroy George. Put away a one two with the same man on 25 minutes. Had a relaxed look about his game tonight and it helped his finishing. A simple finish with his left was followed by the easiest of headers to complete the perfect hat-trick.
Leroy George – 9
What a star. His run set up an emphatic finish low and to the left for the opener. He then popped up on the right side of midfield and played a perfectly timed ball to Besart Berisha who finished with ease. Everything he touches turns to gold. Brings excitement and entertainment to this league.
Stefan Nigro – 6
Gave fresh legs when he replaced Thomas Deng on 60 minutes. Put in a few balls into the area but as the game was run and won, had little to contribute.
Terry Antonis – 6.5
Came on for Troisi and had an immediate impact when he put it on a plate for Berisha to head home for his hat-trick. Got the ball and faced forward every time. A good cameo.
Christian Theoharous – 6.5
Replaced Matias Sanchez and given about 15 minutes to stretch the legs when the game was well and truly put away. Didn’t stop him from adding another thumping effort to put the Navy Blues up 5-0.
CENTRAL COAST MARINERS
Ben Kennedy – 3
Probably should have done better when he was beaten at the near post for the opener. It was an avalanche after that and not a game the ‘keeper will look back on with any great fondness.
Storm Roux – 3
Had his timing all wrong tonight. Went forward when he should have stayed back, and struggled to catch up to the assault that unfolded behind him when he was beaten.
Jacob Poscoliero – 2
Played some dangerous passes and made to look fairly ordinary by the likes of Leroy George and Besart Berisha. Was put out of his misery when subbed on 78 minutes.
Antony Golec – 4
Rhys Williams goal line clearance was the only thing that stopped him from opening the scoring early. It was his main job which let him down on the Victory’s second when he left a gaping hole for Leroy George and Berisha to exploit. Hyperextended his leg shortly after and was replaced with 10 minutes to go in the first half. A broken leg seems to be the diagnosis and sadly the season over for him.
Jake McGing – 4
Got involved down the right on several occasions and inadvertently almost assisted a Mariners goal with an awkward header. Found out of position a few times and the Victory front 4 exploited this.
Liam Rose – 4
Toiled in midfield but was completely out-enthused and out-played. Put in maximum effort in a deflating team performance.
Danny De Silva – 3
Was this an audition for the yet-to-be announced Invisible Man stage production? To be fair to him, his team mates did him no favours. A frustrating 90 plus minutes.
Wout Brama – 4
Lost the battle of the midfield to Valeri and Sanchez.
Andrew Hoole – 5
Defence splitting passes early. His set-piece delivery was ineffective and his side needs more quality from him if they are to salvage anything from their season.
Blake Powell – 5.5
If he was 5cm taller he could have pulled one back after he lost his marker in the box but it was just out of reach. Was busy throughout and had a few golden chances to get his team on the board. Subbed off for Trent Buhagiar.
Connor Pain – 6
Came into the game more as the first half went on and fatigue set in. Looped a great cross to the back post early in the second half but his teammates couldn’t capitalize. Pulled back a late brace, with the second hit with some violence.
Kye Rowles – 3
On for the injured Antony Golec but unfortunately did not combine well in defence with the others.
Jacob Melling – 5
Came on for the error-ridden Poscoliero late on and I dare say will be back in the starting line-up next week based on the team performance.
Trent Buhagiar – 6
Replaced the tiresome Blake Powell and came up with an assist for Connor Pain’s first, utilizing his pure pace down the right flank.