Dodd doesn't regard Mariners as 'losers' after Victory player swap deal

Former Australia midfielder Travis Dodd said while he would prefer the services of Mitch Austin ahead of Connor Pain, he doesn’t regard Central Coast Mariners as “losers” in the player swap deal with Melbourne Victory.

Central Coast

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“I like the way Austin played last year,” Dodd told The World Game.

“He and Pain are very similar players, but Mitch Austin was, I think, more productive in his output and he’s certainly an exciting player.

“I think playing under Kevin Muscat at Melbourne Victory will certainly help him progress to new levels.

“I don’t know what the ins and outs of the deal were, whether Austin was going regardless, and it was a take it or leave it proposition for Central Coast or they had to negotiate hard for Connor Pain, but they do get something in return.

“If Central Coast didn’t see that as a benefit, I can’t imagine they would have accepted that. No club is going to take a player just for the sake of it and no club in the league is in a position to give players away as handouts.

“Central Coast clearly see benefit in getting Connor Pain. He didn’t get a lot of game-time last year, and has the potential to go forward with his career again now.

“Victory are going to see it as a win for them, but I don’t regard Central Coast as ‘losers’ over it. I think Victory have had the bigger win, but I believe there is some degree of potential there for both parties involved in the swap.

“I’m sure that if Central Coast had their way they would have kept Austin, but they got something out of it in the end that they can work with.”

Austin and Pain are both wingers - Austin is bigger and more physical, while the smaller Pain probably has the better control when he runs the ball.

Austin played enough games for the Mariners last season to trigger a second year in his contract.

Central Coast could have refused to release him, but presumably reached the stage in their thinking where they didn’t see any value in keeping a player who didn’t want to be there.

But the club obviously made sure they negotiated with the Victory to get a like-for-like player in Pain, who hadn’t started many games for Kevin Muscat's side in recent years due to the presence of stars such as Kosta Barbarouses, Fahid Ben Khalfallah and Archie Thompson in the front-line.

Barbarouses and Thompson have now left the club, but the Victory clearly preferred Austin to Pain when it came to filling the vacancy.

“Austin was one of the few shining lights for a struggling Central Coast team, so I can certainly understand why they wouldn’t have wanted to let him go,” Dodd said.

“But if a club like Melbourne Victory comes knocking and you’re at an under-performing club, it’s a hard one to knock back.

“They’re always a chance of winning the championship and playing Asian Champions League, so for Austin it’s a step up and an opportunity for him to advance his career.

“I don’t know what the conversations there were between Pain and the coaching staff at Victory about what sort of future he had there, but Central Coast probably presents an opportunity where he’s going to get regular game-time again.

“Sometimes you’ve got to look at your options and figure out what’s best for you, and for Pain it may work out that he gets more game-time and it improves the future for him.

“Central Coast may have finished bottom of the table, but that creates opportunities for new players to go there and do something.”

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4 min read
Published 18 June 2016 at 10:15am
By Greg Prichard