Treble winning midfielder Max Balard departs for overseas opportunity

The Central Coast Mariners can confirm the departure of treble winning midfielder Max Balard, with the 23-year-old leaving the club to pursue overseas opportunities.

Although Max is contracted for another year on the Coast, at the time of signing that extension the Club agreed to allow Balard a free transfer after the 2023/24 season if he wished to pursue an opportunity abroad. This was in recognition of his exemplary service and dedication to the Mariners.   

First arriving on the Coast in 2018 after being scouted from Hakoah Sydney City East, Balard worked his way through our academy system before making his Isuzu UTE A-League debut in January 2021.

The 23-year-old soon became a mainstay in the squad during the 2021/22 season, which finished with him playing all 90 minutes in our Elimination Final loss to Adelaide United.

Balard ultimately never lost another A-League finals match, collecting his first Isuzu UTE A-League Championship the following season after starting in our remarkable 6-1 Grand Final victory over Melbourne City.

The 2023/24 campaign saw Balard reach even greater heights, playing a pivotal role in our treble win.  

A last-minute goal to grab all three points against Melbourne City in April and a strike on the last day of the season against Adelaide helped us secure our first A-League Premiership in over a decade, with Balard missing just one of a possible forty-four matches throughout the season.

He played all 120 minutes of our incredible Grand Final win at Our Paradise, finishing his last campaign on the Coast as a back-to-back Isuzu UTE A-League Champion, treble winner and Mariners Medallist.  

Central Coast Mariners Head Coach Mark Jackson thanks Max for his time with us, wishing him the very best as he steps into European football for the first time.

“We would like to thank Max for his dedication during his time at the Mariners, most notably during my time at the club. He was a great player to work with, someone who was really hungry to learn and get better every day,” Jackson said.

“It is great to see Max get his opportunity overseas; we knew that was what he wanted, and we wish him well and thank him for his contributions. He was exceptional last season, helping us win the trophies that we did.

“Max will always be welcome back here at the Mariners and is someone who I will be keeping a keen eye on how his career unfolds. He is an exceptional young man both on and off the field and he has a great career ahead of him.”

Balard is extremely proud and thankful for his time on the Central Coast, wishing everyone at the club the very best for the future.

“As my time with the Mariners comes to an end, I just wanted to say a big thank you to the Mariners Family for all of the good times that we have shared,” Balard said.

“From the Academy to the A-League winning the treble, I really appreciate every moment that we had together. I wish everyone at the club all the best for the future.”