There was no Usain Bolt but plenty of lightning as the Roar and Central Coast struck out in a 1-1 draw on a stormy Brisbane Sunday.
Bolt didn't travel with the Mariners as reports of an impending A-League contract for the former sprint champion surfaced and a thunderstorm swept through town, delaying kick-off by 19 minutes. It didn't slow the visitors though, who struck in the fourth minute through Connor Pain.
The dominant Roar finally converted their pressure into a goal of their own in the second half as the game opened up but couldn't find a winner.
"We were clearly the dominant team ... the amount of clear-cut chances we created was incredible," Roar coach John Aloisi said. "We should've won that game easily because we were by far the better team.
"Happy with the way we performed, not happy with the result."
Adam Taggart was the man to strike for the Roar but not before he butchered two clear first-half chances and had another waved away when the VAR again reared its head.
Kalifa Cisse's header was then on target but the Mariners' go-ahead goal was denied by another tight off-side call, while Taggart earned a penalty but had it waved away on review for the same reason.
The game's opener came from a Mariners counter in what was otherwise a half controlled by the hosts. John Aloisi's new-look side linked terrifically through the midfield as they constantly flirted with an equaliser. But they went to the sheds without a shot on target, highly-rated arrival Taggart the prime culprit up front.
Twice he missed from close range, first toe-poking wide from a cross before then spraying his shot high and wide despite being all alone in front of goal. They had another golden opportunity cut short by a tight off-side and were unable to jump on a number of other loose balls that presented.
Among all that, Pain was narrowly denied a second when his long-range effort hit the inside of the post.
Taggart returned with improved accuracy, a header forcing Ben Kennedy into his first save before the goalkeeper also turned away Jack Hingert's long-range slash.
Hingert wore the captain's armband with Matt McKay relegated to the bench and Spanish recruit Alex Lopez preferred in midfield, where he produced a quality 84-minute shift.
"If you know me well enough, no I'm not happy with a point but I'm giving you the diplomatic answer," Mariners coach Mike Mulvey said. "I want to win but can't fault my players. I thought they were fantastic."