Sport

Striker McBreen right on target for Mariners this season

Daniel McBreen #2 of the Mariners celebrates with Michael McGlinchey and Mile Sterjovski after he scored his penalty during the round 16 A-League match between the Melbourne Victory and the Central Coast Mariners at Aurora Stadium on January 12, 2013 in Launceston, Australia.
Daniel McBreen #2 of the Mariners celebrates with Michael McGlinchey and Mile Sterjovski after he scored his penalty during the round 16 A-League match between the Melbourne Victory and the Central Coast Mariners at Aurora Stadium on January 12, 2013 in Launceston, Australia. Robert Cianflone / Getty Images

SO just who is Daniel McBreen?

Well, at the moment he is the A-League's top scorer with 13 goals and he could be the man to fire Central Coast Mariners to the title this season.

Before this campaign, though, I doubt even the most ardent follower of Australian football knew McBreen's history.

I must admit I was one of those.

To me McBreen was just a journeyman footballer.

Of course, he probably still is, but you have to say with all the money flying around in the A-League this season and players such as Alessandro Del Piero, Emile Heskey and Shinji Ono attracting all the attention and the big-money deals, McBreen has eclipsed all of those.

The 35-year-old striker is having a season to remember and his 13 goals have helped the Central Coast Mariners to top spot.

To say McBreen has flown under the radar is somewhat of an understatement.

The story of his season is similar to Miguel Michu's in the English Premier League with Swansea City.

Michu has hit 13 EPL goals after coming from relative obscurity after signing for a bargain-basement price of $3m.

While McBreen wasn't signed this season by the Mariners, he had not been at the top of the list when people were talking about best players in the A-League.

But goals always raise the profile and McBreen has been prolific this season.

He has to get credit for putting in the performances and keeping going.

McBreen could have easily taken it easy at Gosford, especially as he is no spring chicken and he would have been forgiven for thinking all he had to do was to see out his days with Central Coast until hanging up his boots in a couple of years.

But he has shown other journeyman players in Australia just what is needed to make it here.

The only other time he scored this many goals was when he was with Falkirk in the Scottish First Division.

He scored 13 in the 2004-2005 season as Falkirk gained promotion - one of eight clubs he has had in his professional career.

McBreen started his career at Newcastle United as a professional in the National Soccer League before trying his luck in Europe.

He signed for Romanian club FC Universitatea Craiova on a long-term contact in 2002, although he later said the move was "a bad mistake".

He walked out on the club in 2004 after it refused to honour his contractual obligations.

Then came his successful stint at Falkirk but just like the good journeyman should, he moved on to England with Scunthorpe United, where he also struggled after the club changed managers and Nigel Adkins did not include McBreen in his plans for the club's future.

Loan spells with York City followed with a move to Scottish club St Johnstone sandwiched in between a return to York, this time on a permanent deal.

But once more McBreen hit the road and North Queensland and Perth came next before he settled on the Central Coast.

He may be a journeyman, but at the moment I doubt Mariners coach Graham Arnold would swap him or his goals.

Topics:  a-league, central coast mariners, daniel mcbreen, football, hyandai a-league, soccer


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