The Mariners fell 4-0 to Brisbane in Gosford on Wednesday night, with late goals and a second half red card putting the Roar on top on the night.
Macauley Gillesphey’s set piece goal in the first half and a second half strike from Joey Champness had the Roar ahead, before a red card to Marco Urena and two late goals pushed out the margin.
Alen Stajcic welcomed back Ruon Tongyik to the starting team, while impact substitute Alou Kuol was absent from the game with illness.
It was a cagey opening from both teams, with neither committing too much forward, although Stefan Nigro and Josh Nisbet combined well down the right early.
Joey Champness looked lively on the left for Brisbane, but the opening goal came from their right hand edge instead. A corner was cleared but a cross followed it again, and it was nodded on towards the far post where Macaulay Gillesphey ghosted in to fire into the roof of the net.
Moments later the Mariners looked to have a way back into the game when the referee blew for a spot kick for a Brisbane handball, however upon VAR review the decision was changed and Brisbane escaped.
Josh Nisbet had a chance seven minutes before the break as he found a sliver of space in which to shoot from the edge of the area, but it fizzed just wide of goal and the Roar remained ahead at half time.
There was concern for Gianni Stensness early in the second half when he was collected high by Gillesphey at a Roar corner but he was able to continue, and shortly after Urena fired over down the other end.
The Roar struck next though, Joey Champness found space to cut inside from the left side and fired an effort just inside the near post. The news was not much better minutes later, as Urena was shown a red card for a challenge on Jay O’Shea, VAR upgrading the original yellow card to a red on review.
Lewis Miller and Dan Bouman were introduced by Stajcic shortly after as the Mariners looked to chase the game, and chances fell for Stensness and Nisbet with the home side often in control.
Jaden Casella and Jordan Smylie also entered the fray, but the Roar eventually succeeded in breaking away on the counter, with Alex Parsons and Masato Kudo adding goals in the dying minutes to inflate the scoreline.
The Mariners now take on another quick turnaround and navigate their fourth game in 14 days with a trip to Melbourne on the weekend to face Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park.