While there aren't any new marquee players to match a landmark class of 2012-13 that included Alessandro Del Piero, Shinji Ono and Emile Heskey, the league continues to go from strength to strength, with the Socceroos' qualification for a third straight World Cup finals adding further lustre to the code.
The Mariners are one of only two teams, Wellington Phoenix being the other, who won't field a marquee player in the new season starting next Friday (Oct 11).
Melbourne Victory loom as a major contender, and last season's fairytale debutant Western Sydney Wanderers have also recruited well, while retaining all their key players.
Mariners coach Graham Arnold won't have the services of up to half a dozen of his grand final winning team when they host their vanquished opponents from that match, the Wanderers, in round one in Gosford on October 12.
Among those gone to other clubs are goalkeeper Mathew Ryan, striker Bernie Ibini, defender Pedj Bojic and midfielder Oliver Bozanic, while veteran stopper Patrick Zwaanswijk retired.
"The players that we've lost were influential in our success and now for me, it's a totally different team," said Arnold.
"We've brought new players in and we've had to try and fit them into our style of play.
"We've had to change our style a little bit because of the new players.
"I'm happy with the new recruits, but it's going to be a good challenge for us to try and be successful again this year.
"You can always have a bit of a hangover after winning a championship when you have the same players and complacency can settle in.
"But with bringing in six new players and having to rebuild, those players we're bringing in are extremely hungry and a lot of them haven't tasted success themselves, so that will rub off on the players that have had success.
'On the other side of it, the players that have had success can pass on the experience of winning something."
The Mariners newcomers include well seasoned players in Dutch defender Marcel Seip, goalkeeper Liam Reddy, midfielder Marcos Flores and returning striker Matt Simon.
Arnold expects the Victory and Brisbane Roar to be among the Mariners' major rivals this season.
"We played Brisbane in the pre-season and they looked very strong," Arnold said.
'Stability is crucial and Brisbane are very stable.
"They've got players that have been there for a long time in Thomas Broich and Besart Berisha and Jade North and they've brought Matt McKay back, so I think they are going to be one of the teams to beat.
"Melbourne Victory have recruited very very well, especially in the last week with James Troisi and the Chilean (central defender) Pablo Contreras.
"I just think over the whole board, it's going to be a very even competition."
Here's a look at how all the A-League clubs are shaping up:
Home venue: Coopers Stadium
Last season's ladder: Fourth
Coach: Josep Gombau
Captain: Eugene Galekovic
Marquee player: Marcelo Carrusca
Ins: Michael Zullo (Utrecht), Tarek Elrich (Wanderers), Isaias Sanchez (Ponferradina), Sergio Cirio (L'Hospitalet), Steven Lustica (Hajduk Split), Jordan Elsey (youth team), Awer Mabil (youth team)
Outs: Dario Vidosic (Sion), Tomi Juric (Wanderers), Iain Ramsay (Melbourne Heart), Iain Fyfe (Mes Kerman), Evan Kostopoulos (released), Fabian Barbiero (released)
A new coach and new blood on the playing side might be just what Adelaide need after a deflating end to last season. Plenty of roster changes and adjusting to the demands and style of their new mentor may mean they need a little time to hit their straps.
Home venue: Suncorp Stadium
Last season's ladder: Fifth
Coach: Mike Mulvey
Captain: Matt Smith
Marquee players: Matt McKay, Thomas Broich
Ins: Matt McKay (Changchun), Dimitri Petratos (Kelantan), Diogo Ferreira (Melbourne Victory), Liam Miller (Perth), George Lambadaridis (youth team), Corey Brown (youth team)
Outs: Ben Halloran (Dusseldorf), Mitch Nichols (Melbourne Victory), Matthew Jurman (Sydney), Massimo Murdocca (Melbourne Heart), Steven Lustica (loan expired), Do Dong-Hyun (FC Gifu, Japan)
The return of favourite son Matt McKay should add more impetus to a Roar side that gained momentum in last season's finals series. Classy imports Besart Berisha and Thomas Broich are back to torment defences.
CENTRAL COAST MARINERS
Home venue: Bluetongue Stadium
Last season's ladder: Second (champions)
Coach: Graham Arnold
Captain: John Hutchinson
Marquee player: None
Ins: Liam Reddy (Sydney United), Marcel Seip (VVV Venlo), Marcos Flores (Melbourne Victory), Storm Roux (Perth), Matt Simon (Chunnam) Tom Slater (Sydney FC), Hayden Morton (youth team, Michael Neill (youth team)
Outs: Mathew Ryan (Club Brugge), Bernie Ibini (Shanghai SIPG), Pedj Bojic (Sydney), Oliver Bozanic (FC Luzern Switzerland), Patrick Zwaanswijk (retired)
The loss of several key members of last season's title-winning side presents a challenge for coach Graham Arnold as the Mariners attempt to go back-to-back. Among the newcomers, Marcos Flores will add creativity while old favourite Matt Simon returns to the strike force.
Home venue: AAMI Park
Last season's ladder: Ninth
Coach: John Aloisi
Captain: Harry Kewell
Marquee player: Orlando Engelaar
Ins: Patrick Kisnorbo (Leeds), Orlando Engelaar (PSV), Tando Velaphi (Melbourne Victory), Aziz Behich (Bursa), Iain Ramsay (Adelaide Utd), Massimo Murdocca (Brisbane), Rob Wielaert (Roda), Harry Kewell (Gharafa), Michael Mifsud (Valletta, Malta), Andrea Migliorini (FC Koper, Slovenia)
Outs: Richard Garcia (Sydney), Cameron Edwards (Perth), Eli Babalj (Alkmaar Zaanstreek), Josip Tadic (Rijeka), Matthew Thompson (free agent), Clint Bolton (retired), Fred (free agent), Simon Colosimo (Dempo), Jamie Coyne (free agent)
Heart fans will be hoping the incentive of another World Cup will be enough to extract the best from prize recruit and new captain Harry Kewell. Defender Patrick Kisnorbo will add steel to a team that must learn how to win on the road if they are to have any chance of making the finals.
Home venue: AAMI Park and Etihad Stadium
Last season's ladder: Third
Coach: Ange Postecoglou
Captain: Mark Milligan
Marquee players: Pablo Contreras, Archie Thompson
Ins: Kosta Barbarouses (Alaniya), Mitch Nichols (Brisbane), James Troisi (Atalanta), Pablo Contreras (Olympiacos).
Outs: Billy Celeski (Al Shaab), Tando Velaphi (Melbourne Heart), Marcos Flores (Central Coast), Diogo Ferreira (Brisbane), Marco Rojas (Stuttgart).
Losing league MVP Marco Rojas would normally be a crippling blow, but Victory have recruited fruitfully, adding Kosta Barbarouses, Mitch Nichols, James Troisi and Chilean central defender Pablo Contreras to an already strong roster. If they can add defensive resolve to attacking flair, Victory could well go all the way.
Home venue: Hunter Stadium
Last season's ladder: 8th
Coach: Gary van Egmond
Captain: Ruben Zadkovich
Marquee player: Emile Heskey
Ins: Kew Jaliens (Wisla Krakow), Nathan Burns (Incheon Utd), Joey Gibbs (Wanderers)
Outs: Bernardo Ribeiro (Mariehamn), Jack Duncan (Perth) Marko Jesic (released), Dominik Ritter (released)
Invariably competitive, the Jets will need to add consistency to their game to crack the finals. Coach Gary van Egmond has unearthed some good youngsters in recent times, but the Jets will need to be tidy in defence and develop good support for marquee striker Emile Heskey.
Home venue: NIB Stadium
Last season's ladder: Sixth
Coach: Alistair Edwards
Captain: Jacob Burns
Marquee player: Shane Smeltz
Ins: Isaka Cernak (Wellington Phoenix), Ryan Edwards (Reading-loan), Sidnei Sciola Moraes (Alki, Cyprus), Cameron Edwards (Melbourne Heart), Jack Clisby (youth team), Matthew Davies (youth team), Jack Duncan (Newcastle Jets), Dean Evans (Stirling Lions), Jamie Maclaren (Blackburn Rovers), Harry O'Brien (youth team), Riley Woodcock (youth team)
Outs: Storm Roux (Central Coast), Matias Cordoba (Petrolero), Kearyn Baccus (Blacktown City Demons, Evan Bereger (Marconi Stallions), Lewis Italiano (Wellington Phoenix), Jesse Makarounas (Melbourne Victory), Billy Mehmet (Dempo SC, IPL), Liam Miller (Brisbane), Dean Heffernan (Wanderers), Nicholas Ward, (released), Neil Young (retired.)
Glory enjoyed a storming finish to last season after Alistair Edwards was appointed coach. Once again Edwards seems committed to giving young WA products every opportunity, but the loss of experience defender Ljubo Milicevic so close to the season is a blow.
Home venue: Allianz Stadium
Last season's ladder: Seventh
Coach: Frank Farina
Captain: Alessandro Del Piero
Marquee players: Alessandro Del Piero, Brett Emerton
Ins: Richard Garcia (Melbourne Heart), Nick Carle (Baniyas), Corey Gameiro (Fulham), Marc Warren (Airdrieonians), Matthew Jurman (Brisbane), Pedj Bojic (Central Coast), Nikola Petkovic (Red Star Belgrade)
Outs: Lucas Neill (Omiya), Joel Griffiths (Qingdao), Kruno Lovrek (Radnik Sesvete), Fabio (Philadelphia), Adam Griffiths (Selangor), Paul Reid (Rockdale City Suns), Trent McClenahan (released), Nathan Sherlock (Sydney United), Jarrod Kyle (released).
While they have lost a fair bit of experience, Sydney have made some good signings, with Nick Carle likely to take playmaking pressure off Alessandro Del Piero. If they can find consistent attacking support for the Italian maestro and tighten their defence, Sydney could contend in Farina's first full season at the helm.
Home venue: Westpac Stadium
Last season's ladder: 10th
Coach: Ernie Merrick
Captain: Andrew Durante
Marquee players: None
Ins: Kenny Cunningham (Strongest), Alex Rufer (YoungHeart Manawatu), Reese Caira (Wanderers), Luke Adams (Derby), Lewis Italiano (Oakleigh Cannons), Carlos Hernandez (Prayag Utd) Josh Brindell-South (Moreton Bay United)
Outs: Isaka Cernak (Perth), Tony Lochhead (released), Alex Smith (released), Benji Totori (released), Mirjan Pavlovic (released), Cameron Lindsay (released), Jimmy Downey (released), Lucas Pantelis (retired)
Phoenix have a shrewd and successful new coach in Ernie Merrick whose job it will be to return the club to the finals after a dreadfully disappointing 2012-13 campaign. More consistent performances in Australia would help, but Phoenix don't appeal as title contenders.
WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS
Home venue: Parramatta Stadium
Last season's ladder: First (losing grand finalists)
Coach: Tony Popovic
Captain: Michael Beauchamp
Marquee player: Shinji Ono
Ins: Brendon Santalab (Chongqing Lifan), Tomi Juric (Adelaide Utd), Dean Heffernan (Perth), Mathew Spiranovic (Al Alrabi, Qatar), Nicholas Olsen (youth team).
Outs: Reece Caira (Wellington), Dino Kresinger (Zavrc), Tarek Elrich (Adelaide Utd) Joey Gibbs (Newcastle)
The feelgood story of Australian sport this year, Wanderers have the task of avoiding a second season hangover. On paper they look stronger, with Matthew Spiranovic adding even more depth to their defence, while newcomers Tomi Juric and Brendon Santalab could supply more goals than the departed Dino Kresinger and Joey Gibbs.