THIS weekend the beloved Central Coast Mariner and current skipper John Hutchinson will step onto Bluetongue Stadium for his 150th Hyundai A-league match.
THIS weekend the beloved Central Coast Mariner and current skipper John Hutchinson will step onto Bluetongue Stadium for his 150th Hyundai A-league match. What makes this occasion even more special is the fact that all of his Hyundai A-League appearances have been for the Mariners which is a testament to his passion and loyalty towards the Club.
Hutchinson, affectionately known as “Hutch”, is one of two Mariners remaining from the inaugural 2005/06 season and has been a major part of the Club-s success from day one.
Hutchinson started his football career in the Gippsland region of Victoria with “the Falcons”, before moving to NSW. Spells with Northern Spirit in the National Soccer League and Manly United in the New South Wales Premier League followed his time in Victoria, before he found himself in the Hyundai A-League representing the Central Coast Mariners.
After showing star quality in the Hyundai A-League for his new Club, Hutch received a phone call, and along with it a proposition, that was simply too good to refuse. The Maltese Football Federation had discovered that through his lineage Hutchinson was eligible to represent them on the international stage, and so began his international journey.
Through determination and desire, Hutchinson has earned every single one of his 149 Mariners appearances, along with several chances to represent Malta.
Three years ago, Hutchinson became a part of the Maltese 2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifying Campaign, featuring against the likes of Czech Republic and Sweden. And, on the domestic and international scene Hutchinson has always been known for his ability to push through the pain barrier to deliver for his team. Wearing the Captain-s armband is a fitting reward for his dedication to the Club.
Not only has Hutchinson earned the respect of local fans, he-s also been exposed to the banter of opposing Club-s supporters. This banter has only served to fuel his brilliance on the pitch and enhance his performance.
A perfect example of Hutchinson-s knack for coming through in big games was his two-goal haul at the Sydney Football Stadium against Sydney FC in October 2007. Hutchinson-s brace remain two of the best goals in his career.
In that match, former Sydney striker Alex Brosque scored twice early. But just a minute later Hutchinson stormed through onto a ball rolling 25 yards out and cracked it first time with the outside of his right boot. The ball crashed into the bottom of the crossbar and went in, leaving Sydney-s custodian helpless.
Five minutes later Tony Popovic hit back with a header, but this did not deter the efforts of Hutchinson who came out and dominated in the second half.
In the 56tth minute, Hutchinson scored a goal at the other end of the pitch that was almost identical to his first. However the astounding thing about his second goal was that it was with his left foot.
Despite Hutchinson-s class and two amazing goals the Mariners went down 3-2 against Sydney, but the travelling Mariners fans (including myself) were given a memory that they will never forget.
Similar to former Mariner Matt Simon, Hutchinson is one of those players rival Clubs would love to see the back of. Hopefully, we will see him in the yellow and navy - or pink, as the case may be this Sunday - for a long time yet!