Mariners keeper Birighitti making the most of ‘make-or-break year’
Central Coast Mariners goalkeeper Mark Birighitti insists the 2019/20 season is ‘a make-or-break year’ after he became a forgotten man at Melbourne City.
The 28-year-old spent four years in Europe – playing in Italy, England and the Netherlands – after catching the eye in 51 Hyundai A-League appearances for the Newcastle Jets between 2012 and 2015.
Birighitti was not able to find a long-term home at Italian outfit Varese, Welsh club Swansea City or Dutch side NAC Breda and, after only 16 appearances in Holland, the Perth-born gloveman headed back Down Under to Victoria.
Things did not go to plan in Melbourne as Birighitti slipped down the pecking order behind Eugene Galekovic and did not make an appearance in the 2018/19 campaign under then head coach Warren Joyce.
In the 2019/20 off-season, Birighitti found himself in demand from Alen Stajcic’s Mariners and the shot-stopper is now more hungry than ever to once again make a name for himself.
“Spending four years abroad was a great experience,” he said.
“I joined Melbourne City last year and that was quite a disappointing year for myself personally.
“For whatever reason it didn’t work out.
“Now I’m at [Central Coast], it’s a make or break year for me.
“I’m excited to be playing first team football again and enjoy what I love doing.”
Birighitti held special praise for the man who brought him to Gosford, and revealed he rates Stajcic among the best tactician’s he has ever worked with.
“Everyone is united and sticking together and [Alen Stajcic] is going a great job as well as the rest of the coaching group,” he added.
“Tactically, he’s one of the best coaches that I’ve had. His man management skills are top drawer.”
Western United FC v Central Coast Mariners
Sunday, 19 January 2020
Kick off: 4pm AEDT