Lawrie McKinna’s men failed to make it past the group stage of Asia’s premier club competition but took away with them a valuable experience which rolled that into their pre-season performances where they won six of seven matches.
The Mariners have not had to say goodbye to many big names in the off-season as Mile Jedinak departed to Turkey during last season and Sasho Petrovski joined the Newcastle Jets prior to the ACL campaign.
They do however, welcome former Scotland U21 Chris Doig from Northampton Town along with English midfielder Shane Huke, Nick Travis from Sheffield United and former Wellington Phoenix striker Adam Kwasnik into the squad that played off in the finals last term and scored the third most goals in the competition.
A repeat performance is achievable but with two new teams to contend with, McKinna’s charges will need to be on their game, especially away from Bluetongue Stadium.
Arrivals: Chris Doig (Northampton Town, England), Shane Huke (Dagenham & Redbridge, England), Adam Kwasnik (Wellington Phoenix), Matthew Lewis (National Youth League), Nick Travis (Sheffield United, England)
Departures: Andre Gumprecht (Bonnyrigg White Eagles), Mile Jedinak (Genclerbirligi, Turkey), Matthew Osman (Gold Coast United), Sasho Petrovski (Newcastle Jets), Paul O’Grady (released), Greg Owens (Bankstown City Lions), Nick Rizzo (Sydney Tigers)
Biggest signing: Chris Doig
Biggest loss: Mile Jedinak
Key men: Matt Simon (striker), Alex Wilkinson (captain/defender), Danny Vukovic (goalkeeper)
Goalkeepers - Danny Vukovic, Andrew Redmayne
Defenders - Pedj Bojic, David D’Apuzzo, Dean Heffernan, Andrew Clark, Nigel Boogaard, Chris Doig, Alex Wilkinson
Midfielders - Shane Huke, Bradley Porter, John Hutchinson, Adrian Caceres, Ahmad Elrich
Forwards - Nik Mrdja, Dylan Macallister, Matt Simon, Nick Travis, Adam Kwasnik