Sellout hopes for soccer titans

A MEETING between the A-League's best-placed and best- supported sides has organisers hoping for a 12,000 sellout in Launceston early next year.

Ladder leader and last year's minor premier Central Coast Mariners will be hosted by Melbourne Victory at Aurora Stadium in January.

Tickets went on sale yesterday with Victory and Football Federation Tasmania confident of improving on the 5268 crowd that turned out to watch the first A-League match at the venue last year when a last-minute equaliser earned Gold Coast a 1-1 draw with Victory.

Victory has staged seven friendly fixtures at the venue, dating back to 2006, with crowds reaching as high as 8061, and January's match will be the second in a three-year agreement to play in Tasmania.

"The Mariners are on top of the ladder and we're in great form so it's going to be a ripper and we're really excited about being here," Victory managing director Richard Wilson said.

"We'd like to see Tasmania get behind it.

"We know a lot of people will be coming over from Melbourne for the game so we would like to see a 12,000 sellout.

"It's likely to be a critical game in terms of advancing come finals time and possibly qualifying for the Asian Champions League."

Wilson said he would welcome the opportunity for his club to play a second game each year in Tasmania, glad for any opportunity to grow its brand in a season that will see it begin a five-year sponsorship with the Tasmanian state league.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for people in Tasmania to see football at the highest level, and kids to see what they can aspire to," the federation's competitions manager George Kalis said.

"We'd love to see a crowd of 12,000 people here, but anything about 6000 would be great."

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