The Argentine had a glum time in navy blue and white under Ange Postecoglou last season, a shadow of the player who won the Johnny Warren Medal at Adelaide United in 2010-11. Playing as a rotating number 10, trading places with Guilherme Finkler at the point of the attack until the Brazilian's season was ended by a knee injury, the 28-year-old seemed to have concrete boots on for the most of the season, as a lack of pace and often substandard first touch left Victory supporters and coaching staff thoroughly underwhelmed.
He has looked considerably better already after being coaxed north to the Mariners, restored to a traditional playmaking role and given some love by Graham Arnold. But the man who tempted him to Gosford has since moved on. Will Flores continue to produce performances under Phil Moss, and can he get one over the visiting Victory this week?
2. Is Pablo Contreras a defensive liability?
Presumably on substantial wages as Victory's international marquee player, the Chilean centre-back was signed to provide defensive stability and encourage clean sheets. But his career in Australia to date has been littered with unflattering incidents. There was a two-week ban for elbowing Mate Dugandzic in Round 1, a woeful display - in which he gave away a penalty - during the 3-2 loss away to Sydney FC, and Contreras was in the thick of it again on Saturday, getting too close to Jeronimo Neumann inside the area and giving the Adelaide forward, who admittedly made the most of the challenge, an excuse to go down. Fortunately for the Victory, the spot-kick was missed by Sergio Cirio. But question marks remain over the 35-year-old's decision-making and mentality. With Adrian Leijer suspended for the trip to Gosford, which Pablo Contreras will turn up alongside Nick Ansell, and can he be trusted?
3. Can Phil Moss maintain the Mariners' hoodoo over the Victory?
Central Coast haven't lost at home to Victory since December 2010, and their last two wins over the navy blue and whites were a painful semi-final defeat last season and a chastening 6-2 thrashing in the regular reason. If you go further back, the Victory have only managed three wins from 13 meetings with the Mariners dating back to August 2009 - before Graham Arnold even took charge at Bluetongue Stadium. Now it is up to his former assistant Moss to keep the sequence going, but it won't be easy against a Victory team who glided past Adelaide with ease despite having just 10 men for the entire second half of their game at Etihad Stadium last Saturday.
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4. Is Mitchell Duke ready to embark on a goal-scoring run?
Of the promising young strikers ex-Socceroos coach Holger Osieck took to the East Asian Cup in July, Tomi Juric and Duke both found the back of the net in the opening round of this season, and Juric was the man being talked up after scoring twice in Western Sydney's comeback win over Adelaide, before a knee injury sidelined him for a month. Adam Taggart received the least game-time in Korea, but he has found himself in the spotlight after netting six times in the last three matches for the Newcastle Jets, including the first hat-trick by any player yet in 2013-14 against Melbourne Heart on Sunday.
Duke meanwhile hadn't troubled the scorers until Saturday night, when he struck in injury-time to claim a dramatic 2-1 win away to Perth Glory. Power, pace, finishing skills and a high work-rate - the 22-year-old has all the attributed required to be a quality centre-forward. Now it's time to deliver, and he will have fond memories of the brace he claimed in that thumping win over the Victory last season.
5. Is it Scott Galloway's turn at right-back for Victory?
Jason Geria surprised a few observers when he moved ahead of AIS product Galloway in the pecking order for a starting berth this season, after the latter had impressed greatly in the second half of 2012-13. Geria was axed for the game against Adelaide, Leigh Broxham dropping into defence to accommodate the return of Mark Milligan in central midfield alongside Rashid Mahazi. Broxham will be suspended for the trip to Gosford, having picked up five yellow cards already, prompting either an instant return for 20-year-old Geria or a first start this season for 18-year-old Galloway.