Mariners Youth Development Coordinator, Damien Brown, will go head-to-head with former teammates and his employers when the Central Coast Mariners face Lake Macquarie Roosters tomorrow night.
When the Hyundai A-League was founded, Damien Brown was the first player to sign on the dotted line for his hometown club.
A member of the Mariners 2007/08 Premiership winning side, Brown was a constant and calming presence in the team for three impressive seasons.
And, when he hung his boots following a fruitful career on the national scene, Mariners management knew they needed to keep the local lad involved with the club.
Today, Brown is a key member of the Yellow and Navy-s administration team and one of the Mariners hardest workers off the pitch. As the club-s Youth Development Coordinator, Brown is responsible for administering the club-s MarinersACTIVE School Sessions, Development Programs, School Holiday Clinics, and is also immersed in coordination of the Mariners Academy structure.
But tomorrow night, the Gosford-born player will come face-to-face on the pitch with the club he works for by day. Having spent this season playing for Lake Macquarie in the Northern NSW State League, Brown is set to line-up at left midfield for the Roosters when the semi-professional outfit takes on the Mariners at Macquarie Field, Speers Point.
Knowing the way Graham Arnold sends his teams out, Brown is expecting to be run ragged throughout the 90 minutes.
“I know teams Arnie coaches take a lot of pride in keeping possession,” Brown, 36, said. “They-re also quick to attack, which isn-t great for me because I probably don-t track back like I used to!”
“As well, Arnie-s teams work very hard to get the ball back when they-ve lost it, so for us it will be about thinking a bit quicker and making the most of the opportunities we have on the ball.”
Despite expecting a tough outing against the Mariners, the cheeky smile on Brown-s face indicates he is in fact keenly anticipating the clash. With an astute knowledge of the requirements to compete at the highest level, Roosters mentor Chris Turner will undoubtedly call upon Brown-s experience in the dressing room before kick-off.
“There are a couple of young guys such as Matthew Comerford and Harry Maguire the Mariners will need to keep an eye on, but we-ve got some experience in other areas too,” he said.
“Wayne O-Sullivan will play and Andre Gumprecht could turn out depending on work commitments.”
Mariners Assistant Coach Phil Moss said the Yellow and Navy would take a strong squad to face Lake Macquarie, noting that Wednesday-s game would also help the club build depth looking towards the Hyundai A-League season, as well as the 2012 version of the Asian Champions League in which the club will participate.
“The young boys who fans will see tomorrow are an important part of our depth building process,” he said.
“We-re looking to get as many players familiar with the system we like to play, and minutes into some of our Youth League boys who could be critical for us down the track.”
As well as regular Hyundai A-League players, the Mariners will take youngsters Brent Griffiths, Ben McNamara, Kwabena Appiah-Kubi, Brendan Griffin and Jimmy Oates to Speers Point.
Friendly Match Information
Lake Macquarie Roosters vs. Central Coast Mariners
Macquarie Field, Speers Point
Entry-fee: $2 (kids under 10 free), $5 car entry fee