Hutchinson's 'Mariner for a week' concept takes off

MARINERS skipper John Hutchinson may have proudly called the Central Coast home for eight years now, but that doesn’t mean he’s forgotten, nor intends to neglect his roots.

MARINERS skipper John Hutchinson may have proudly called the Central Coast home for eight years now, but that doesn-t mean he-s forgotten, nor intends to neglect his roots.

Hutchinson was born and bred in Morwell, a small town in the Latrobe Valley area of Gippsland in Victoria-s east.

Last week, Hutchinson helped inspire one of the Gippsland region-s ambitious young footballers by giving 15-year-old Baley Row the opportunity to learn from the Hyundai A-League-s best by becoming a Mariner for a week.

It was an opportunity so many aspiring footballers can only dream of, as Baley witnessed the inner workings of the Club and team as the Central Coast Mariners prepared for their AFC Champions League clash with Korea Republic-s Suwon Bluewings.

The week culminated with the chance to lead the Mariners onto the field in their top-of-the-table clash with Western Sydney Wanderers at Bluetongue Stadium on Saturday.

Hutchinson explained how he developed the idea for Row to visit the Mariners, and some of the activities the youngster took part in during his stay with the Club.

“I went down to my hometown with my good friend who runs an Academy down there,” Hutchinson said. “We came up with an idea to give a kid the opportunity to become a Mariners for a week.

“I said to my friend that I don-t want someone to come up here that-s not respectful and not a nice kid, because that-s not what this Club is about.

“He trained with the under 16 Academy team, went to the International Football School, and watched the first team train.

“Baley fitted in really well with the boys, he filled up drink bottles, chased balls for them and got to join in occasionally.

“My home town is Morwell and we don-t have much of a football pathway down there at the moment. To give young Baley the chance to come up and see what it-s like to be a professional footballer, and see the way the Academy teams are treated and training was a wonderful opportunity for him.

“It-s something I-d like to do every year. When I finish playing football I-d love to bring a whole team from Morwell to play against the Academy teams and see what it-s like at the Mariners,” Hutchinson said.