Tony Walmsley has added more venom to his front third in signing 24-year-old Australian attacker Mitch Austin from English side Cambridge United FC on a two-year deal.
Austin will arrive on the Central Coast in early July and have the advantage of joining the Mariners for a full pre-season when the first team returns from end of season leave.
Austin headed to the UK after being spotted by Rotherham United as a youngster playing for Manly United and now has the chance to return to Australia and prove himself in the Hyundai A-League after several loan spells.
Standing over six foot tall, Austin is an imposing figure and Walmsley is excited to have him at his attacking disposal for the upcoming season after appearing on his radar during his Head of Recruitment role at Sheffield United.
“I’ve known Mitch since being in the UK, one of my jobs at Sheffield was to track young Australians,” Walmsley said. “Now moving back to the Mariners it’s important to understand how good young Aussies are playing,” he said.
“With the Visa restrictions in the A-League and the new model we’re putting in place, Mitch is someone that fits that profile; a young Aussie talent with embedded potential that we can expose to the global market.
“Mitch has got incredible pace and great athletic ability, he’s six foot one so he immediately contributes some physical requirements we are looking for. He can go down the outside of players, has an excellent cross and gives us genuine width on the left hand side.
“He’s done some real hard yards and that helps shape a young player. The A-League is going to be demanding, but it’s going to give him a chance to shine and we believe he can play at a higher level,” Walmsley said.
Austin can’t wait for Season 11 of the Hyundai A-League where he hopes to be in Walmsley’s starting 11 come round one and the Manly junior thinks he can draw from his experiences in the UK to become a contributor in attack.
“I’d like to cement a place in the first 11, obviously it’s a longer pre-season to what I’m used to so I want to do well in the pre-season and hopefully I’ll be in the side and ready to run out,” Austin said.
“Over there you are fighting for wins every single week, I’m used to taking a touch and getting smashed so I’ve gained a lot from that and I’m now quicker on the ball,” he said.
“I’m naturally a left footed player so left wing is my main position, I’m quite quick, a decent crosser of the ball and hopefully I can chip in with a few goals also.
“Every game (in the A-League) is live in the UK so I’ve watched quite a bit of it, so I can’t wait to have a crack and it’s a great opportunity for myself to show what I can do,” Austin said.