Huke of Dagenham points lance towards Asia

Midfielder Shane Huke will potentially become one of Central Coast Mariners’ new faces for their inaugural AFC Champions League campaign, with the versatile 23-year-old agreeing to terms for the group stage of the Mariners’ Asian adventure, pending the receipt of relevant transfer documentation from abroad.

Midfielder Shane Huke will potentially become one of Central Coast Mariners- new faces for their inaugural AFC Champions League campaign, with the versatile 23-year-old agreeing to terms for the group stage of the Mariners- Asian adventure, pending the receipt of relevant transfer documentation from abroad.

Born in Reading in England-s south but raised in Australia, Huke was most recently with Football League 2 challengers Dagenham & Redbridge, who were the seventh English club that Huke represented throughout the course of an extensive stint in England-s tough lower tiers.

Prior to returning to the country of his birth in 2003, Huke played three seasons with the Rochedale Rovers in the Brisbane Premier League - a club not far from his family home in the Queensland capital, which is Huke-s link to Australia and also the place where his family reside.

Huke was a fringe member of Australia-s 2005 FIFA Under-20 World Cup squad and, although he failed to register an appearance in green and gold, he remains eligible for recognition by Australian national teams and arrives at the Mariners with ambitions for consistent top-flight football, which could potentially lead to future international call-ups.

"As soon as we became aware of Shane-s availability, we made moves to bring him to the Mariners and we-re delighted that he will potentially join us for this very exciting time in the history of our club," said Mariners Executive Chairman Lyall Gorman.

"Given Mile Jedinak-s departure, there is a real chance for a member of our existing squad, in addition to the likes of Shane, to challenge for a starting place in midfield and make that position their own.

"Shane-s presence will further add to the competition that already exists for a place in our starting eleven and will also provide us with some great experience from some of Europe-s most competitive leagues, which will be a most valuable asset throughout what will be a challenging AFC Champions League campaign."

Huke-s first taste of professional football in England came at Peterborough United in England-s central east in 2003/04, at which time the Posh were challenging for the third-tier Football League 1.

Only 18-years-old at the time, Peterborough loaned Huke out to conference league clubs King-s Lynn, Bedford Town and Heybridge Swifts by the conclusion of the campaign, before debuting him as a 19-year-old the following season off the bench against a Bradford City side that featured iconic English journeymen Nicky Summerbee, David Wetherall and Dean Windass.

In a further eight appearances with Peterborough that season, Huke would cross paths with Gold Coast-bound Australian striker Joel Porter on a trip to Hartlepool before completing loan spells with Cambridge City and Hornchurch.

By the 2005/06 English season, Peterborough had been relegated to the fourth-tier Football League 2, where Huke would complete two more campaigns and contribute 21 appearances, including one substitute appearance against a Tim Cahill inspired Everton in the English League Cup in September 2006, and one goal against Torquay United at London Road.

Huke joined freshly promoted Dagenham & Redbridge for perhaps his defining season in 2007/08, where he made 36 appearances and netted two goals, before injury hampered his most recent campaign with the Daggers - a frustrating circumstance that would ultimately pave the way for his move to the Central Coast.

"I-ve been keeping in touch with the Hyundai A-League while in England and based on what I have seen and heard, there was no question in my mind that Australia was the perfect place for me to develop my game and further my career," said Huke.

"I-m grateful to have been given this opportunity by the Mariners, who I know have been one of the most consistent clubs since the inception of the Hyundai A-League and one that is famed for it-s work ethic and positive dressing room culture.

"The AFC Champions League presents me and the club with an exciting opportunity and I-m really looking forward to contributing to a very exciting tournament where I can push my claims for a place at the Mariners beyond the coming months."

Shane Huke

Date of Birth 2 October 1985 Place of Birth Reading, England Position Midfielder Height 180cm Weight 78kg Former Clubs 2001-03 Rochedale Rovers (Queensland); 2003-07 Peterborough United (England); 2003-04 King-s Lynn (England); 2003-04 Bedford Town (England); 2003-04 Heybridge Swifts (England); 2004-05 Cambridge United (England); 2004-05 Hornchurch (England); 2007-09 Dagenham & Redbridge (England)

The Mariners- third Finals Series campaign will begin with a blockbuster clash against the Queensland Roar in the Minor Semi Final - 1st Leg at Bluetongue Stadium on Friday, 6 February. Kick off is at 8pm.

Tickets for this match are available from Ticketek outlets, from the Ticketek website - www.ticketek.com.au, or via phone on 132 849.