Ibini February’s standout young star

CENTRAL Coast Mariners attacker Bernie Ibini has today been announced as the fifth nominee for the 2012/13 NAB Young Footballer of the Year Award.

CENTRAL Coast Mariners attacker Bernie Ibini has today been announced as the fifth nominee for the 2012/13 NAB Young Footballer of the Year Award.

Ibini was voted as the most outstanding U21 player for the month of February following standout performances in four matches.

Ibini returned to the Mariners following a trial stint in Belgium with Club Brugge in January, and has since produced a number of dazzling displays for his side. Indeed, Ibini helped the Mariners achieve two wins and a draw from four Hyundai A-League fixtures in February.

The Australian youth international netted a neat double in a 5-0 thumping of Wellington Phoenix at Bluetongue Stadium early in the month, and backed that great performance up with the Mariners- only goal in their 2-1 defeat away to Perth Glory in Hyundai A-League round 21.

Ibini was also a key figure in the yellow and navy-s 6-2 triumph over Melbourne Victory in Gosford on Saturday 23 February - his pace, trickery and notably his selflessness helping craft goals for his teammates on the night.

Ibini today described his pride in joining the four other nominees for the prestigious NAB Young Footballer of the Year prize, an award he was also nominated for last season.

“It-s good to be the second player nominated from the Mariners this year, I think it shows how well the coaching staff has done with the young boys,” Ibini said.

The attacking ace also added that his January trial in Belgium had given him extra belief in his ability.

“The (Mariners) coaching staff has given me a lot of belief to go out and perform,” he said. (But) I think going over there (to Belgium) was a great experience for me. For me it was a ten out of ten experience and it helped me to come back with a lot more confidence to show what I can do.”

Tim Clarke, Head of NAB Enterprise Sponsorship & Events said NAB is delighted to see the NAB Young Footballer of the Year Award continue to unearth future stars of the game.

“We congratulate Bernie on his nomination and look forward to watching his development and growth on the football field in the years to come,” Mr Clarke said.

“As a supporter of the NAB Young Footballer of the Year Award, NAB is proud to play an important role in identifying and rewarding tomorrow-s stars of football.”

“We are also pleased to recognise Bernie's junior club, Westfield Sports High in Fairfield and hope that the equipment pack provided will help the school continue developing the game at a local grassroots level," said Mr Clarke.

The overall winner will receive a $10,000 personal investment portfolio, a NAB Private Client Manager to assist with a range of banking and financial services, and the NAB Young Footballer of the Year Award.

To aid the development of future football stars NAB have generously donated a $3,000 equipment pack that will go to Bernie Ibini-s chosen junior football school, Westfield Sports High.

Central Coast Mariners custodian Mathew Ryan won the NAB Young Footballer of the Year Award in 2010/11 and 2011/12. Former Mariner Tomas Rogic, now of Glasgow Celtic FC in Scotland, received an NAB Young Footballer of the Year nomination earlier this campaign.