Central Coast Mariners youngsters shine in Bolt's debut

Usain Bolt’s late cameo for Central Coast Mariners stole worldwide headlines last Friday night.

But the athlete’s professional footballing debut shouldn’t overshadow the promise shown by a bunch of new Mariners signings.

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Here’s who impressed as the Mariners continued their pre-season development under Mike Mulvey.

Jack Clisby

Jack Clisby had scored one goal in 97 Hyundai A-League matches prior to the Mariners' friendly match up against Newcastle Jets last month.

Now, the fullback has three in his last two Mariners appearances. Clisby’s brace featured a cool finish in the opening 20 seconds and a textbook thumping header from a corner late in the first half.

Clisby’s endurance down the left flank has made him a standout performer since his arrival from Western Sydney Wanderers.

One of few Mariners players to last the full 90 minutes, it was another solid showing from Clisby in Gosford, who might just have made the left fullback position his own.

Mario Shabow

Another highlight in Navy and Yellow was Mario Shabow, who wreaked havoc ahead of Clisby on the left hand side.

The 20-year-old has found regular first team minutes difficult to come by in his fledgling Hyundai A-League career so far, but could this season be his breakthrough?

A deceptive ball carrier with great vision and shooting ability, the Baghdad-born winger exhibited all the qualities required to push for a regular position in the Mariners starting eleven this season.

Mario Shabow

Peter Kekeris

But competition for places in the Mariners frontline will undoubtedly be fierce this campaign, and Shabow could yet be rivalled be another right-footed left winger in Peter Kekeris.

Kekeris’ ability to glide past pressure and jink his way through defenders was a big highlight of the evening, while he also displayed a clean pair of heels and coolness in front of goal to score the Mariners' third goal of the evening.

He’s already been handed 44 minutes in the FFA Cup 2018 – will Kekeris be able to stake his claim for first team action in the coming weeks?

Josh Macdonald

One of two former NPL NSW strikers on deck for Central Coast this season, Josh Macdonald will be out to prove the doubters wrong in the Hyundai A-League.

A former Sydney FC National Youth League winner, Macdonald was unable to secure first team football while on the books of Western Sydney Wanderers in 2015.

But after some strong showings for Wollongong Wolves in the NPL NSW, Macdonald made a great impression in front of the Mariners faithful.

A well taken goal on debut was the highlight of a positive and sharp display from the striker, who should add a great option to the Central Coast frontline.