Mariners snare highly rated Rogic

Central Coast Mariners have signed 19-year-old attacker Tomas Rogic, a finalist in an international Nike talent contest, on a five-month contract.

Central Coast Mariners have signed 19-year-old attacker Tomas Rogic, a finalist in an international Nike talent contest, on a five-month contract.

Rogic, who shot to prominence following Nike-s The Chance, will commence training with the Mariners on Thursday and will be available for selection for the NSW derby against Sydney FC at Sydney Football Stadium.

An attacking midfielder, Rogic spent time honing his craft and building his fitness under the guidance of Mariners staff in the lead up to his week long trial against 100 finalists in London last year.

Rogic was one of only eight players awarded a place in the Nike Academy in front of a massive media contingent from around the world at Arsenal-s former training base.

The Mariners offered Rogic a contract before he left for his trial, and Graham Arnold had no hesitation in re-offering the precocious young talent a deal after his opportunity to sign with English Championship club Reading was scuppered due to work permit issues.

“We actually offered him a contract before he went to the Nike Academy,” Arnold said. “We-ve been monitoring him since he went and he-s another youngster we-ve got with a huge amount of potential.”

“He-s in no way a replacement for Matt Simon, it-s just another good story of the Mariners giving an Australian kid an opportunity.”

“Tom is a creative player, you give him the key and tell him to go and unlock the door. He-s naturally gifted, has a strong physique and can score goals as well. We have signed potentially and hopefully one of Australia-s future brightest stars,” he said.

Rogic said the Mariners presented an opportunity he couldn't turn down and admitted he's eager to make an impression on the club.

“I-m very excited and hopefully it-s going to be a great opportunity,” Rogic said. “I feel pretty comfortable slotting in, I know most of the boys, ‘Arnie- (Graham Arnold) and people at the club, so I-m just excited to get straight into it.”

Rogic said the chance to train with the Mariners before he left undeniably aided his selection in the Nike Academy.

“The aim was to get into a good club environment and train at a good level before I went over and that the Mariners provided me with that,” he said.

“The standard that I came to before was something that I wasn-t used to, so it was obviously a great standard. Now coming back, I know what to expect and I understand the level a bit better.”