Mariners roll out welcome Matt for Lewis

The Central Coast Mariners have boosted their playing roster for the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season, with the signing of gun teenager Matthew Lewis.

The Central Coast Mariners have boosted their playing roster for the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season, with the signing of gun teenager Matthew Lewis to a one-year deal.

The Blacktown City junior played a starring role in the Mariners inaugural National Youth League campaign, before being added to the senior squad for the Asian Champions League campaign.

“He came in last year and was a bit quiet at the beginning, but as the season went on he got better and better, so we included him in the ACL squad and he improved out of sight,” said Mariners Football Manager Lawrie McKinna.

“He went back to his club Blacktown, and has been outstanding for them. He-s scored quite a few goals and he deserves his chance.

“He made his A-League debut last season, and hopefully he-s got a few games in him this year,” McKinna said.

A pacy left midfielder, Lewis joined up with Blacktown City in Under 11-s after beginning his career at Parklea juniors, quickly progressing through the ranks at the Demons, and led the Australian Schoolboys to Japan only last year.

“It-s a big relief, and it-s very exciting,” said Lewis.

“It-s great to get back training with the boys, and obviously it is great to have the experience of training with these guys, hopefully (this season) will be good.

“It was good to get to know the boys (during the Asian Champions League campaign), Alex (Tobin) was a great coach with the youth last season, and it-s great he-s with the first team now, because that will be a great influence.

“I just want to keep going well, hopefully I-ll get a bit of game time, and get the chance to prove myself,” said Lewis.

The 19 year old came on as a late substitute in the Mariners final regular match of last year-s Hyundai A-League, before returning to Blacktown to gain valuable experience, at the same time linking up with his Mariners teammate Adam Kwasnik.

“He-s been playing against men week in week out. Blacktown has a very young squad, and by no means top of the league, they-re in there scrapping and week in week out he-s been one of their better players.

“(Blacktown head coach) Ken Schembri gave him a good rap every time I spoke to him about it, so he deserves it. He-s hung in there, he came in one day last week and for his first training session, he was outstanding, so now we-ve got him under contract, but he-ll play the next few weeks at Blacktown to help them.

“He-s left footer, a wide left attacking player. There-s a shortage of lefties, especially good ones, so it-s a great opportunity for Matty to come on and show what he can do,” said McKinna.

Lewis will fill an Under 21-s spot in the Mariners squad for the upcoming season, with McKinna aiming to further strengthen his squad, before round one, against Melbourne Victory at Etihad Stadium on August 6.

“We-ve got 20 players now, still three players to bring in, and I-ll probably look at at least two, I think we-ll leave a spot up our sleeve. Michael McGlinchey is looking good at the moment so, we-ll see how he goes this week, but I think he-d be a great acquisition to the squad,” said McKinna.

The Mariners- pre-season continues this Saturday, 25 July, when they take on Wellington Phoenix at Apex Oval Dubbo. General Admission tickets are available at the gate, and are $10 adults and $5 for Children/Concession.

Mariners Memberships for the 2009/10 Hyundai A-League season are now available online by clicking here or by phoning 1300 767 442.