CENTRAL Coast Mariners have extended the deal of 20-year-old defender Trent Sainsbury for a further two A-League seasons, while three NYL players have also been promoted to the senior squad.
Sainsbury revealed some of the key reasons behind his decision to extend his deal with the league leaders until the completion of the 2013/14 campaign.
“It’s [the Mariners] a good family orientated Club, which suits me, and I like that it’s a very chilled out lifestyle here on the Coast,” Sainsbury said.
“Arnie [Graham Arnold] was a big part of me staying here, he’s a very professional coach, and I guess you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone so it was important for me not to go to another Club and basically have to start from scratch.”
In keeping with the Mariners focus on youth, the club has also confirmed the promotion of three National Young League (NYL) squad members to the clubs’ 2012/13 A-League roster.
Attacker Mitchell Duke, utility James Oates, and midfielder Anthony Caceres have each been rewarded for their stellar form in the 2011/12 NYL. Duke has secured a two-year deal with the Mariners, while Oates and Caceres have been signed to initial one-season contracts. The trio have also been added to the Mariners 2012 Asian Champions League squad.
Mariners coach Graham Arnold praised the clubs’ promotion of Duke, Oates and Caceres, and the retention of Sainsbury.
“This shows that we want to give our youth a go,” Arnold said. “The ones who come into our system early will get a chance – to find other players they have to be a very special talent otherwise we will promote our youth.”
“In the past two years Trent has developed with us physically and matured a lot as a footballer and a person – he’s one of our youngsters with a lot of potential.”
For Duke, the prospect of fighting his way into the Mariners first team is a challenge he is relishing.
“I couldn’t be happier. All the hard work has paid off and now I’m just looking forward to knuckling down and working harder,” Duke said.
Meanwhile, Caceres described earning his first professional contract as a “dream come true” and said that fans could look forward to seeing a hard-working player who likes to contribute in attack.
“I see myself as the type of player who likes to get the ball a lot, keep possession and keep attacking. I just want to give my best for the team and I’m very thankful to the Club for the opportunity,” Caceres said.
Last but definitely not least, Oates said supporters could look forward to his competitive and committed brand of football.
“I’m a very competitive player and person, so for me the hard work starts now,” Oates said.
Central Coast Mariners commence their 2012 ACL Group Stage on Wednesday 7 March away to Tianjin Teda in China. The club then plays two of its three Group G games at home against Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma (Korea Republic) and Nagoya Grampus (Japan).