Central Coast Mariners midfielder John Hutchinson will become just the second player in Mariners history to reach the exclusive 100 game club, should he line up in yellow and navy for Friday’s F3 derby against Newcastle Jets.
Central Coast Mariners midfielder John Hutchinson will become just the second player in Mariners history to reach the exclusive 100 game club, should he line up in yellow and navy for Friday-s F3 derby against Newcastle Jets.
Hutchinson became the 12th player to represent the club, when he came on as a second half substitution for Tom Pondeljak in the first ever competitive match, a 4-2 penalty shootout win over the Jets in the 2005 FIFA Club World Championship, and Friday-s clash will mark his 100th competitive appearance for the Central Coast.
“I actually didn-t realize it was my 100th match, but I feel it is a good achievement. Hopefully though we can get the three points, and continue to build on our season from there,” said Hutchinson.
“It means a lot to play 100 games for the club. I-m obviously proud of the achievement and grateful to all of the coaching staff for giving me the opportunity to play that many games.”
The Morwell born 29-year-old first linked up with Lawrie McKinna when the pair was at Northern Spirit in the old National Soccer League back in 2001, and was one of McKinna-s first signings at the A-League-s new franchise in 2004.
“He (Lawrie McKinna) has been a big part of my career. This is eight seasons we-ve been together now so to know what he expects of me and how to play is always good, and when you find a coach that likes you, I tell the boys, find someone who likes you and don-t leave. It-s good to know you-ve got someone who trusts you in your playing position and playing the game, so it-s been good.
“I believe this squad is probably better than the squad we had last year. We-ve got more depth. Obviously we lost some good players at the end of season four but we got some good players in. the coaching staff has done well with the players to make the depth of the squad a lot better. If we can keep everyone fit and healthy, and keep everyone striving to play, hopefully we can make the finals then go on from there,” Hutchinson said.
Hutchinson has been one of the first names on McKinna-s teamsheet over the past two Hyundai A-League seasons, missing just three matches since the completion of the Hyundai A-League 2006/07 season, and was an influential part of the Mariners push to become A-League premiers the following season. An achievement he rates as the finest during his time in Central Coast colours.
“For me it was winning the league with the boys here. We had a good team, and that year we got written off to come last by the experts so to turn that around and to go on and win the league was a massive achievement for what they call a small club in the league, so obviously that is one of the highlights of being at the Mariners.”
And McKinna has recognized his commitment to the cause.
“Hutch has been great for us. I first worked with him at the Spirit then he came here and made an impact from day one. He had that bad knee injury in season two but has come back better than ever and is an important part of the squad.
“Hopefully we can put on a performance to match the occasion, and come away with the three points,” said McKinna.
The Mariners first home match of the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season against local rival Newcastle Jets is this Friday, 14 August. Kick-off is at 8pm. Tickets are available online here or by phoning 132 849.
Mariners Memberships for the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season are now available online by clicking here or by phoning 1300 767 442.