Transfer news: Mariners defender joins Maltese club

The Central Coast Mariners have released young defender Harry Ascroft to take up a deal with Maltese Premier League outfit, Balzan F.C.

The 22-year-old recently had a trial in Malta and did enough to earn himself a contract with the club that finished second in the league last season.

“I would like to thank Central Coast Mariners for giving me the fantastic opportunity to play in the Hyundai A-League,” Ascroft said.

“I would like to wish the boys all the very best for the future and the rest of the season.

“Finally, I would like to say a huge thanks to the fans who have supported me on this journey – you welcomed me with open arms from day one and that’s something I will never forget.

“The opportunity to return to Europe and continue my dream is certainly an exciting one and a new experience for me."

Ascroft joined the Mariners in July of 2015 from Dutch club VVV-Venlo and went on to make 34 Hyundai A-League appearances, scoring four goals.

His trial and transfer is a result of a newly established relationship between the Central Coast Mariners and Balzan F.C.

This relationship is aimed to increase player pathway opportunities into Europe for young Australian players.

“To establish a relationship with a club in Europe that will give young Australians a chance to play regularly is great for the Mariners,” Mariners Head of Football, Nick Montgomery said.

“We will continue to work with Balzan and see this as a great pathway for Australians to be exposed to football in Europe.

“This gives young Australians like Harry an opportunity to play football abroad and develop their game, whilst earning regular game time,” Montgomery added.