Usain Bolt of the Mariners reacts after missing a shot at goal during a Hyundai A-League trial match between the Central Coast Mariners and Macarthur South West United at Campbelltown Stadium in Sydney, Friday, October 12, 2018. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Usain Bolt of the Mariners reacts after missing a shot at goal during a Hyundai A-League trial match between the Central Coast Mariners and Macarthur South West United at Campbelltown Stadium in Sydney, Friday, October 12, 2018. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY DAN HIMBRECHTS

Why Keisuke's Honda is worth more than Bolt's Ferrari

RAISE your hand if you thought a front two of Ross McCormack and Usain Bolt was something you would witness in your lifetime.

No hands? Ok good. Glad we're past lying to each other.

After the most hype for a 'marquee' signing since David Beckham took his services to LA Galaxy, Bolt finally donned a Central Coast Mariners playing strip for the first time in front of camera.

And the world took notice.

The fastest man on the planet sent football twitter into a meltdown on Friday night, scoring twice in the Mariners' 4-0 pre-season win over Macarthur South West United.

Video of his first goal - an admittedly assured near-post strike - garnered more than six million views and 11,000 re-tweets for the lucky person running the CCM social media show.

His highlight reel makes for fun viewing; mostly for the seemingly effortless way in which Bolt regularly strode behind the Macarthur defence.

But dissection of Bolt's two-goal showing must come with some caveats.

This was not A-League quality opposition.

Then when you cast an eye over Bolt's 75 minutes on the pitch, rather than his two goals in isolation, it becomes obvious there is still plenty of polishing to do.

His pace was a highlight, but the heavy touches and a noticeable lack of game awareness were not.

Matildas superstar Sam Kerr is already a converted Bolt fan, telling AAP she would be rocking a Mariners number 95 jersey if not for her Nike sponsorship commitments.

But whilst the Bolt experience has already seemingly ticked many of the marketing boxes the Mariners may have hoped for, the question needs to be asked if there will be any long-term benefits.

Kerr is already entrenched in Australian football. Her eyes were on the A-League irrespective of Bolt's presence.

For all the noise surrounding his arrival, that interest will quickly vanish when Bolt is absent alongside McCormack come the season proper.

Despite his debut brace, Bolt is still at long odds to grace an A-League pitch.

The Tommy Oar-assisted McCormack goal against Macarthur is infinitely more likely to be repeated this season than either of Bolt's strikes - and a combination Mariners fans should be excited about.

Yes, the A-League brand has reached more international eyes than ever before through Bolt's early stint.

But those same eyes will lose interest. Tangible brand awareness - memberships, merchandise sales, fan groups - is probably not something Bolt will bring to the A-League.

However Victory's marquee signing, Japanese international Keisuke Honda, will.

The former AC Milan attacking midfielder and superstar of the Samurai Blue will likely bring lasting exposure to Australian football.

It helps that he is a footballer, after all. And a bloody good one at that.

To rework an overused phrase: Come for Bolt; stay for Honda.

For perhaps the first time, a Honda is preferred to a Ferrari.



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