“There’s been a lot of people who have been around the club for a long time as well, and they’ve all helped contribute to the success that we’ve had” … John Hutchinson.JOHN HUTCHINSON is on track to become the first player to complete a decade of service with the Central Coast Mariners after agreeing to a contract extension until 2015.
The 33-year-old joined the Gosford club upon their entry into the A-League in 2005 after a decade in the National Soccer League, first with home-town club Morwell Falcons, then with Northern Spirit.
His time with the Mariners was broken only by a four-month loan spell in 2011. That was with their sister club, Chinese side Chengdu Blades, then under the guidance of inaugural Mariners coach Lawrie McKinna.
After looking as though his career might be wound up by the emergence of several brilliant youngsters at Central Coast, Hutchinson – who played his early career as an attacking left-winger – reinvented himself as a holding midfielder in the past two seasons, effectively filling the hole left by Rostyn Griffiths.
The club will commemorate his decade at Bluetongue Stadium with a testimonial match to be played before the next A-League season.
”It would be good if that happened and if it does I’d like a lot of people to come back and celebrate the day with me,” Hutchinson said. ”There’s been a lot of people who have been around the club for a long time as well, and they’ve all helped contribute to the success that we’ve had.”
Despite having played in three grand finals without tasting the ultimate success, Hutchinson is proud of topping the table twice with the Mariners. Coach Graham Arnold, widely credited with transforming and extending Hutchinson’s career, said the Maltese international was the kind of player you could build a club around. ”’Hutch’ … is one of the true servants of the club,” Arnold said.
■ Brisbane Roar captain Matt Smith will miss the rest of the season after hip surgery. He will be out for up to four months. “I am bitterly disappointed to be out for the rest of the season,” Smith said.
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