Bernie Ibini scored as Central Coast started its two-match pre-season tour of New Caledonia with a 1-1 draw against its host in Noumea.
Ibini netted after just 10 minutes, but the Mariners conceded direct from a free-kick 11 minutes after half-time as they were forced to settle for a draw.
Central Coast coach Graham Arnold handed game time to all but two of his travelling squad at the Stade Numa Daly, and said the men to miss out - experienced duo Patrick Zwaanswijk and Mile Sterjovski - would play against New Caledonia in the second match of the tour on Saturday night.
“We put in a very good performance," Arnold said. "They beat New Zealand in the Oceania World Cup qualifiers recently and for our first hit out we did exceptionally well.
"This game provided us a much higher intensity than probably any game in Australia could at this time of year, so I couldn't be happier with the start we've made.
"Trent Sainsbury was probably our best player on the pitch over the 90 minutes.
"Brad McDonald did exceptionally well as well, as did all our young boys."
Goalkeeper Mat Ryan, defender Pedj Bojic and midfielder Oliver Bozanic look to have played their last games for Central Coast Mariners as the A-League champion faces a raft of departures.