CENTRAL Coast Mariners’ chances of success in the 2012/13 Hyundai A-League season have been handed a further boost, with boom youngster Tomas Rogic and experienced Dutch defender Patrick Zwaanswijk committing to the 2011/12 Premiers for a further campaign.
Rogic and Zwaanswijk both played an instrumental role in the Clubs’ success last season, the former bursting onto the professional scene with a string of standout performances, the latter proving his class with seven goals in 29 A-League games from left stopper.
With Rogic widely reported to be the target of several rival Australian sides, Mariners boss Graham Arnold said securing the services of the much sought-after playmaker was a coup for his Club.
“Tomas is one of the brightest prospects in Australian football, a player who could have an outstanding career if developed properly,” Arnold said.
“Tommy believed staying at the Mariners was the best thing for his personal development and with a full pre-season we believe he will be a key player for us next season.”
On Zwaanswijk’s re-capture, Arnold said: “Patrick wanted to play another season and we wanted Patrick to remain a Mariner. He has proven in his two seasons in Australia so far that he is one of the best foreign players ever to play in the country. We know and expect Patrick will give us the same level of performance next season as he has in the past two years at the Club.”
The players themselves are delighted with the deals that will keep them at the yellow and navy until the end of the Group Stage of the 2013 AFC Champions League.
“A little bit of loyalty can go a long way in football, and hopefully I’ve shown that (loyalty),” Rogic said.
“I’m pretty grateful to have the other offers that I received [but] I guess I was leaning towards the Mariners because ‘Arnie’s’ [Graham Arnold] here and they gave me a chance in the first place.”
“I just thought it was the best decision for my football career at this point in time and a decision that will give me the best chance to develop as a player,” Rogic concluded.
Zwaanswijk said he and his family are settled on the Central Coast and that at 37, he was physically and mentally ready for another season as a professional footballer.
“I am 37 but my body feels like I am 38 so one more year won’t do any harm,” Zwaanswijk joked. “No, my body feels good, and mentally I am really fresh and capable of playing another season at this level.”
“It only took two meetings between myself and the Club to reach an agreement for next season, which shows you the kind of person I am and the way the Club is.”
“As soon as I told my wife and kids they were jumping in the air.”
“I see myself as not only as a player but as someone who could contribute to the Mariners in other ways in the future as well. I love the lifestyle, the sponsors and the fans and there are further things we can look to do together when I am finished as a player,” Zwaanswijk concluded.
Central Coast Mariners Chairman, Mr Peter Turnbull, added that Rogic and Zwaanswijk were an ideal fit for the Club.
“Our youth policy is well known and respected throughout Australia, and Tomas is a player Graham Arnold has identified that he and the coaches can help take to another level,” he said.
“Patrick is a key component of what was last season the league’s best defence. His leadership and experience alongside Alex Wilkinson, Joshua Rose and Pedj Bojic ensures the Mariners backline is a formidable.”
Central Coast Mariners now have 21 players under contract for the 2012/13 Hyundai A-League season.