Striker Matt Simon has returned to his hometown club, signing a one-year deal with Central Coast Mariners.
Striker Matt Simon has returned to his howmtown club, signing a one-year deal with Centralo Coast Mariners.
One of the club's favourite sons, Simon left the Mariners in January 2012 for K-League Classic side Chunnam Dragons but struggled to make an impact as injuries limited him to just six appearances throughout his time in Korea Republic, and the 27-year-old agreed a mutual release from the Dragons earlier this year.
Simon said he was happy to return to his old club and was looking forward to putting his injury woes behind him.
“I am really excited to come back,” Simon said.
“I had a tough time in Korea with injury. I couldn-t quite get my body right.
"‘Nealo- (Mariners Physiotherapist Andrew Nealon), ‘Clarky- (Mariners Head of Sports Science Andrew Clark) and ‘Arnie- (Mariners Head Coach Graham Arnold) are the best in the business, and 100 per cent working with them again was a big part of my decision of coming home.”
Mariners coach Graham Arnold said it was a coup for the club to regain one of their best players, and would add to competition for places in his squad.
“It is great to have Matty back,” Arnold said. “At the peak of his powers he's one of the best players in the A-League.
"He-s a local player, a fan favourite, was born and developed on the Coast, and it-s great the supporters will get the chance to see him in our colours again.”
With the likes of Bernie Ibini tipped to leave the club during the off-season, Simon's move would appear to herald a rebuilding phase for the club but Arnold said he was confident his frontline would remain mostly intact for their championship defence next season.
"To get him back wil add significant strength to our frontline and to have more competition for places is a good thing for us.
"I don't think Mitch Duke will go overseas but if Berni (Ibini) does go, we've got the option of what we do with Matty. McBreen can play as a no.10, Matty's a no.9 who plays up high, but if Mitch keeps going the way he has, Matty knows he'll have a fight on his hands.
"It gives us more depth; we saw in the ACL last night that you need that. We're in the ACl again next year and all the other A-League teams will be looking to strengthen in the off-season. I'm sure there would have been plenty who would've liked to sign a player of Matty's calbire.
"But luckily for us he's stayed very loyal to the club and we were his first and last option.