Ex-Dons coach's team Down Under lauded as the best ever

Mark JacksonMark Jackson
Mark Jackson | Getty Images
No other team has achieved what the Mariners have achieved this season

A little over 12 months on from being sacked as manager of MK Dons after the club’s relegation to League Two, Mark Jackson has made Australian football history.

Some are calling his Central Coast Mariners side the best the country has ever seen after they secured a remarkable treble - winning the A-League, the AFC Cup and the Grand Final in Jackson’s first year in charge.

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After a shaky start to the season after Jackson’s arrival in September, Mariners, who were reigning A-League champions, began their tear towards winning everything they could. Overtaking Wellington Phoenix late in the season, they lifted Asia’s equivalent of the Europa League before embarking on the play-offs for the Grand Final.

And the final itself could not have been more dramatic, with a stoppage time goal for Jackson’s men to send the game into extra-time against Melbourne Victory, when two goals for Central Coast secured the treble - something no other side in A-League history has ever done.

Earning plaudits from everywhere, the former MK Dons manager was asked whether he felt his side were the best team in the history of the division - formed in the same year his old club were in 2004.

“I don't know the history that much, but this is a special group of players, staff and a club at the moment,” he said. “I cannot praise them enough. I'm here to pick the team and nudge it in the right direction. Those players have to fight, execute and they have done that time after time this season.

“I'll let others make up their mind of what kind of team we are, but I know we're special. I'm a part of this team who have achieved what they've achieved - I'm super proud.”

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