‘Part of football’: Millar moves on from Mariners drama

He expects to cop some stick from the fans but Newcastle Jets recruit Matt Millar insists he wouldn’t have handled his move from Central Coast Mariners to the Hunter any differently.

The Mariners handed Millar a chance to shine in the Hyundai A-League when they signed him from NPL Victoria outfit South Melbourne in August 2018.

But 22-year-old sent shockwaves through the Gosford club in January when it was revealed he had signed for their F3 Derby rivals Newcastle.

Millar was even sent home from training by then-coach Mike Mulvey as the Mariners plotted a way to deal with the situation.

The fullback eventually saw out the season with Central Coast and was one of their star performers, scoring one goal and providing eight assists in 24 matches.

Speaking on Friday for the first time in Jets colours, Millar said he’s excited about a fresh start in Newcastle.

“I’ve spoken to Mike [former Mariners boss Mulvey] since and we got on really well. He was the one who plucked me from 70 NPL trialists,” Millar told reporters.

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“I have a lot of time for him and we came to terms with the fact I was moving on. We spoke about it [at the time] that as long as I gave 100% in every game I lined up for the Mariners, there was nothing more they could ask for.

“I just made sure I held up my end and gave 100% for every minute I was at the Mariners.

“It’s part of football moving on, we came to terms with it. It wasn’t ideal for him but it worked out alright.”

Millar is not the first Mariners player to make the move up the F3 to join their nearest neighbours.

Former Jets and new Brisbane Roar striker Roy O’Donovan did the same thing ahead of the 2017/18 Season, admitting at the time he wrestled with the decision to switch between the fierce rivals.

Matt Millar is relishing the chance to work under Ernie Merrick this season

But that wasn’t the case for Millar, who was eager to make the move and get the opportunity to work under experienced Jets mentor Ernie Merrick.

“He [Merrick] really reached out to me and I really liked the things he said,” Millar admitted.

“I was more excited to play under [Merrick] and work with him and hopefully develop as a player. That was my main excitement with coming to Newcastle.

“I’m really looking forward to the derby and getting a big crowd of people. They are the games you look forward to playing in with a lot of people in the stands and a good rivalry."

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While the Jets have confirmed three pre-season friendlies for September, their only other current fixture locked in is an FFA Cup 2019 Round of 32 clash against Melbourne Victory on Wednesday, August 7.