Mariners call up Nikas

Central Coast youth captain Panny Nikas has been rewarded for his outstanding year in the National Youth League with a full-time contract at the club until the end of the season.

Central Coast youth captain Panny Nikas has been rewarded for his outstanding year in the National Youth League with a full-time contract at the club until the end of the season.

Nikas, who has scored eight goals in 10 matches this season, will join the Mariners' first-team squad for the remainder of the A-League season.

His signing comes after the club agreed to the mutual termination of David D'Apuzzo's contract, after the young defender opted to focus on studying for a law degree.

"Panny has been outstanding in the Youth, scored a lot of goals, and week in week out he is one of their best players," said coach Lawrie McKinna.

"With David deciding to take a break, it's worked out well for Panny, he'll come in and train full time with the first team squad, and we expect him to get better."

Mariners executive chairman Lyall Gorman added: "Our National Youth League side is sitting on top of the ladder after 14 rounds and Panny has been a big part of its success."

"This opportunity is just reward for a player of Panny's calibre, and we look forward to him not only contributing to the team, but also learning a lot off the senior players as he continues to develop."

The 21-year-old has been a revelation in the National Youth League this season and is excited by the prospect of getting out on the track with the senior players.

"I was out shopping when (Mariners youth coach) Tony (Walmsley) called me, so I was pretty rapt when I got the phone call," he said.

"I'm just trying to do my best in the youth league and every time I've been called in to training I've tried to work to the levels that the boys are working at, because they are going pretty well."