CCM concede defeat in Rogic chase

CENTRAL Coast Mariners are desperate to bolster their squad during the January transfer window but there will be no return for former star playmaker Tom Rogic.

Mariners coach Phil Moss confirmed after his side's 1-0 win over Sydney FC on Saturday night that they tried feverishly to entice Rogic back to the club on loan but failed.

While Sydney FC were another club keen on Rogic it appears the 20-year-old, currently at Scottish giants Celtic, will join A-League rivals Melbourne Victory on a six month loan deal.

But it's not because the Mariners didn't go all out to get his signature, with Moss revealing owner Mike Charlesworth and new chief executive Bruce Stalder had done all they could to make a deal happen.

"It looks as though we've fallen a bit short but that's not through lack of trying or lack of endeavour," Moss said.

"It looks as though he'll sign elsewhere. I've spoken to Tommy quite a few times in the past few days.

"He's a great guy, a fantastic player and I hope he makes the right decision for the sake of Australian football because we need him fit and firing at the World Cup."

With Michael McGlinchey moving to Japan and a knee-injury bringing Marcos Flores’ season to a premature end, Moss said Rogic would have been an ideal replacement but believes the youngster was talked out of a return to Gosford.

"Yeah of course (he would have been the perfect fit for us) and I believe we would have been a perfect fit for him," the Mariners boss said.

"But Tommy's a big boy now, he's a European professional and he's got people around him advising him where to go.

"I just hope he makes the right decision but certainly we tried our hardest."

Moss said the club was most likely looking abroad to bolster their squad and is confident of finding at least one new signing before the transfer window closes.

And if he can they will join a side that appears to be hitting its straps at just the right time.

The Mariners moved up to third thanks to Mile Sterjovski's deflected second half effort but should have won by a lot more if not for some wasteful finishing.

"I think we've been building to this," a delighted Moss said.

"I said during the week with all the changes we had it was like sailing a ship into a storm and you can see over the last few weeks that there's calmer waters ahead and that's a credit to everyone.

"No-one's lost the belief. I'm just proud as punch of the boys and how they've come through a difficult period.

"But it's not over yet. The table is still very tight and one bad result can turn a lot of things around."

Moss gave special praise to defender Trent Sainsbury who he believes is ready to play at a "higher level", while youngster Anthony Caceres was also excellent in midfield as cover for suspended skipper John Hutchinson.



Sometimes, people can't see the forest for the trees....

I don't know that teams have always to look overseas for talent. Few players allowed to leave a club in the January transfer window are feeling on top of the world. They'd be feeling less than enthused if their next port of call was Australia if they're coming from Europe. Australia is not what they have dreamed of since they were children starting out in football. Coming here is just a job for most of them and one they are not real keen to do in this country.

Of course, it goes without saying that in time, quite a few imports get to like the fact that they ply their trade in our shores. Our lifestyle does make up for a lot of what is missing from what that they had wished for.

My suggestion for all clubs looking to bolster their squads at this time of year is to first look at home; in their own clubs and then around the country. I don't know what the scouting set up is like with the A League clubs but please don't tell me there aren't any highly skilled, hungry and ready to go young players out there. A club could do worse then signing a local that is known by some as possessing the right stuff. If that someone is a scout of some repute, then at the very least an invite to a training session might save a lot of the headaches and expense involved in signing an import.

If you think about it, the odds of signing a Flores or a Broich are long given the list of imports that have come and gone in our league.

A little digging and a little open mind attitude might just unearth some rough diamonds that just need a short and quick polish for them to shine. I found one.

I'd like you, if you are still reading, to turn your mind to Albert Riera. Backpacking through the South Pacific he accepted an invite from a mate to go train with a NZ outfit and ends up signing up with them. Gets to play in the World Club Championship and against the Phoenix in a friendly. Lo and behold! He is now one of their first picked... where did he come from?

His story however, could yet be replicated, this time by a 23 year old French boy, if only he was given a chance. He has come to Sydney on a working holiday and is currently looking for a job. He's been in the country for three months. He is keen to play football but knows nothing of our football set up. Somehow he finds out that an ad in Gumtree might help him out. He ends up training with my squad and everyone around him is left gaping at what they're seeing unfold.

This kid is a natural No 10 with the skills to match. has speed to burn and leaps like Timmy Cahill, with that hang time that seems to go on for ever. He is also gifted with a quick football brain and eyes that see things before they happen. He has that footballer's vision all coaches look for.

Of course, I immediately think that this kid needs a bigger stage than my team can provide and so I attempt to make contact with the Mariners based on the fact that they have just lost their major play maker in Flores as well as losing others to transfers. I know they'd be trying to bolster their squad. So I am trying to get this kid to be invited to attend just a training session with the Mariners to see if they see what I see; potential plus!

It's only been 24 hours but have had no replies to my approaches. There is nothing in this for me other than to satisfy my desire to not see talent go to waste. With that in mind, I have also made a tentative approach to a Sydney FC contact... We'll see what pans out.

Sometimes, lightening can strike twice.