Controversial federal backbencher Belinda Neal, famously demoted by the PM over the "Iguanagate" scandal and ordered into counselling for anger management, could soon find herself back in the spotlight over a $600,000 payment to local A-League soccer team the Central Coast Mariners.

Crikey understands that a bitter row, annoyingly dubbed "Marinergate" by insiders, is brewing between Central Coast ratepayers and two cash-strapped local councils, Gosford and Wyong, over money used to fund the Mariners' disastrous Asian Champions League campaign.