Melbourne: Champion sprinter Usain Bolt’s Central Coast Mariners debut will pit him against a grab bag of office workers, students and factory hands in an amateur side who have no intention of giving the Olympic sprint champion an easy ride, their captain Matt Page has said.
The Jamaican’s hopes of winning a professional contract in the Australian top flight will be tested on Friday when the Mariners play an amateur select side at their sleepy base in Gosford, north of Sydney.
The pre-season match will be televised live by a local broadcaster and could draw over 12,000 paying fans to the Mariners’ home stadium.
“Everyone’s buzzing. Most of the guys wouldn’t have played in front of a big crowd like this before, myself included,” 34-year-old skipper Page.
“Obviously playing against the big fellow, you know, it’ll be interesting to see how that goes.
“If he wants to make it at this level, no one’s going to take it easy on him. I don’t envisage any of the boys pulling out [of a tackle]. But I don’t think anyone will be dirty, either. It’ll be a really good natured game.”