Making your debut is hard enough as it is but on Thursday night Kye Rowles was tapped on the shoulder just three minutes before kick-off and told that he would start for the first time against Adelaide United.
An injury in the warm up to Josh Rose meant that he couldn’t take the field and the responsibility of the starting left back role would be handed to 19-year-old Rowles.
The appearance would be Rowles Hyundai A-League starting debut having appeared twice off the bench last season for the Brisbane Roar. It would also be Rowles first 90-minute outing since March.
But like the upmost professional that he is, Rowles had prepared himself as best as he could and took the occasion in his stride.
“I warmed up as usual and wasn’t too sure what was wrong with Rosey because he got through the whole warm up,” Rowles said. “I was looking at the set pieces in the change room then Ivan told me I was starting about three or four minutes before kick-off.
“I still prepared as I would if I was starting – I ate the right meals, hydrated well but it definitely got the heart rate going a little bit. But I guess I would rather it happen that way because I didn’t have to think about it the night before and over think things.
“Late March was the last time I played 90 minutes so I was definitely sore the next day and didn’t really sleep much that night so hopefully that gets better through time,” Rowles laughed.
Despite a 2-1 loss, the Mariners showed signs of promise and dominated play in the first half to take a lead 10 minutes before the break.
“The first half was definitely our better half,” Rowles said. “Then the second half turned into a transition game and we started to play into their favour – credit to Adelaide because they took their chances but I guess we just let the lead slip,” Rowles said.
Rowles played majority of the pre-season before succumbing to a knee injury just before the start of the Hyundai A-League proper. After working hard to return to full fitness, Rowles is hungry for more action in Yellow & Navy and is loving life on the Central Coast.
“I want to play as many games as I can this year and help the team as much as I can,” Rowles said. “Hopefully that means playing 90 minutes after 90 minutes each week so I am just going to keep pushing like the rest of the team are at training and hopefully we can start picking up some more points.
“I’ve settled in really well here and I love the family feel down here,” Rowles said. “Everyone at the club is really nice, it’s a big tight knit group who are very welcoming. All the people on the Central Coast are great as well so it’s a top place to be,” Rowles said.
No one can prepare for a surprise debut and Rowles has his suspicions that maybe his parents even missed Thursday night’s game.
“All of my close mates messaged me straight after the game,” Rowles said. “Mum and dad didn’t message me until after the game because it was my brother’s graduation night so I don’t even think they watched the game live,” Rowles laughed.
“But everyone has been so supportive and stoked for me that I got on the pitch,” Rowles said.