Brisbane Roar’s Aiden O’Neill Brisbane Roar midfielder Aiden O'Neill is ready to rip into his former club Central Coast Mariners. Picture: AAP
Brisbane Roar’s Aiden O’Neill Brisbane Roar midfielder Aiden O'Neill is ready to rip into his former club Central Coast Mariners. Picture: AAP

Roar star has no mercy for Mariners

Brisbane midfielder Aiden O'Neill has no sympathy for his former club Central Coast, who are staring down the barrel of a ninth successive defeat on Friday night when they meet the Roar at Suncorp Stadium.

O'Neill spent last season on loan to the Mariners from English Premier League club Burnley and was part of a Central Coast team that finished last.

The Mariners were also bottom of the table the season before and are headed for a third-straight A-League wooden spoon as they sit five points adrift of 10th-placed Newcastle.

But despite the Gosford-based club's plight, O'Neill and the in-form Roar intend to show no mercy on Friday.

 

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Brisbane Roar midfielder Aiden O'Neill is ready to rip into his former club Central Coast Mariners. (AAP Image/Darren England)
Brisbane Roar midfielder Aiden O'Neill is ready to rip into his former club Central Coast Mariners. (AAP Image/Darren England)

"I wouldn't say I feel sorry for them at all," O'Neill told The Courier-Mail.

"It's up to them to try to turn it around.

"We just want to win another game and another three points."

O'Neill said the Mariners' problems came "from the top".

"They've just got to sort it out and maybe have quite a few new players come in," he said.

"You don't really know what's going on there. I played there last season and it was tough.

"When you're down there (at the bottom), it seems like everything's against you."

O'Neill is much happier at his hometown club after moving north - again on loan from Burnley - in the off-season.

"We're a team in form and everyone's starting to give us respect now which is what we deserve," the 21-year-old Tokyo Olympics hopeful said.

"I've been on a few loans now, and I'm used to the uncertainty from the past couple of years so it doesn't bother me. I've just got to keep trying to play well."

Burnley have the option of re-signing O'Neill when his contract with the Clarets expires at the end of season.

 

Aiden O'Neill playing for Burnley in 2016 (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
Aiden O'Neill playing for Burnley in 2016 (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

"They're keeping tabs on men and watching the games, so we'll see what happens," he said.

"It's definitely an option for me to stay (with the Roar). I've really enjoyed my time here, and under (coach) Robbie Fowler and (technical director) Tony Grant.

"I've really enjoyed the philosophy and the way we're trying to play, and the day-to-day environment as well."

O'Neill - who moved to England when he was 14 before returning to Australia in 2018 - has also relished the chance to play in front of his grandparents, who are regulars at Roar home games.

"They'd never seen me play football live and been able to come to the games, and they're really enjoying that so that was a big thing for me," he said.

"They sure get into the games and even get upset with the refs sometimes, but they really enjoy it."



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