• Anthony Caceres has attracted the interest of Sydney FC but Mariners coach Tony Walmsley is keen to hang onto him (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Central Coast Mariners midfielder Anthony Caceres is the latest subject of a regular feature where The World Game has a bit of fun with the game's stars by asking them questions they wouldn't normally be asked and letting their personalities shine.
By
Greg Prichard

9 Sep 2015 - 3:23 PM  UPDATED 9 Sep 2015 - 3:23 PM

Caceres told TWG:

About his match made in heaven with girlfriend Helen Petinos;
Which football superstars he would love to invite to dinner;
Why family is so important to him;
What he would do with $1 million;
What his hopes and dreams are;
Why he feels like a team leader at 22.

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TWG: There has been a big turnover of players at the Mariners in the last couple of years. What is it like to see so many players come and go?

AC: It's exciting times, you know. New players and new personalities coming into the team and every player we're bringing in has something about them, something positive, that makes them special. We've bought Mitch Austin, who, athletically, is a beast, young Jake McGing from the youth team has a great football brain and Roy O'Donovan from Ireland is a terrific signing. We've got some new faces and they've all got some positives about them, which is good.

TWG: You were only 20 when you sat on the bench and weren't used in the 2013 grand final, which the Mariners won. Did you still feel totally a part of it on the day?

AC: Oh, definitely. The team we had was such a great team and I had such close mates in the team that it didn't matter whether you were in the stands or on the bench, it felt like a win for everyone and we all celebrated with all our hearts. It was a great moment for me, even though I didn't get to go on.

TWG: It must have been a great experience for you as a young player to be at the club under Graham Arnold as coach and with so many good players in that team.

AC: Yeah, exactly right. That 2012-13 season was my first year as a contracted, first-team player and I couldn't have been luckier than to be part of such a great squad, with great mentors. Players of great experience - Patrick Zwaanswijk was leading the side from the back, Mile Sterjovski, Pedj Bojic - players who I still keep in contact with. They taught me a lot when I had that season with them.

TWG: Mat Ryan was the goalkeeper for the Mariners that year. He's only 23 now - a year older than you - and look what he's doing. I guess that's a reminder for you that anything can happen in football if you play your cards right.

AC: Yeah, Maty's probably one of my closest mates and we still talk every day and when a mate of mine goes and achieves great things I couldn't be happier for him. It doesn't surprise me, because the quality he has is unbelievable. He deserves everything he's getting.

TWG: You're a mainstay in the team now, but you're still only 22. Do you feel like a team leader?

AC: Yeah, I can use my strengths in a certain way. I'm not the loudest in the team, but I feel that I base my game around trying to take charge of the game with the ball and in that sense I'm sure I can lead the team in the right direction.

TWG: Your girlfriend, Helen Petinos, plays for Western Sydney Wanderers in the W-League. That's quite a footballing partnership you've got going there.

AC: Helen has actually just signed for the coming season, so she couldn't be happier and neither could I and I think I'm pretty lucky to have a girl who shares the same passion for football as me, so I can't complain. It's awesome.

TWG: Do the two of you talk much football when you're together?

AC: Yeah, definitely. We watch football together and we even go and do a few sessions together at the park when we have days off. It's all good, we both enjoy that. She teaches me a few things, too. She's good to train with.

TWG: Sounds like a match made in heaven.

AC: It is, mate, to tell you the truth.

TWG: Are you engaged yet?

AC: No, not yet, but a few of the boys in the team have been getting engaged, so we'll see how it goes.

TWG: How long have you been together?

AC: Six years now. We started  in school, we both went to Westfields Sports High and there's no reason to stop when things are going well. We're both still living with our families at home and we get to see each other once or twice a week. She understands my commitments and I understand hers, so it works out well. My parents are at Bossley Park, out near Marconi, but I find myself staying at the Central Coast a lot because of my training schedule. The travel can take a bit out of you, but when I have a day off I come home and see the family and Helen.

TWG: Are you keen to get an opportunity to play overseas.

AC: Yeah, it's always been a goal of mine. If the right move came along that would benefit my football and, in the long run, would be financially good, I would look into it, but I still think I've got a fair way to go to get to a level where I'm ready for that.

TWG: What about Socceroos ambitions?

AC: Yeah, of course. Any young Australian player would have that as their goal. If you don't have that then, really, there's no point in playing. That's the highest achievement in football in Australia.

TWG: What do you do to relax, when you're not training, playing or doing those long drives from Bossley Park to the Central Coast?

AC: I like to hang out with the boys after training and have a coffee. Myself and a few others will go to a cafe, play some cards, have a latte and relax. Apart from that I like to play music - I play keyboard a little bit, as a hobby on the side. Watch a bit of TV with my dad, talk football with him.

TWG: If you could invite three players and a coach from around the world to your place for dinner, who would they be?

AC: Can they be retired? (TWG: Yeah, sure!) OK, Jose Mourinho as coach, and for players Diego Maradona, Juan Roman Riquelme and Ronaldinho. Mourinho is an entertainer as a coach. He's a big personality, a big part of the modern game and I'm sure that having a chat with him would be pretty interesting. Diego, for me, is the greatest player of all-time. My dad told me a lot about him, he's one of my dad's favourites. And Riquelme and Ronaldinho just because I grew up admiring the way they play and I'd love to meet them.

TWG: If someone gifted you $1 million, what would you do with it?

AC: I would definitely pay off the mortgage on my parents' house. Then I'd take the family and Helen on a holiday and shout the boys in the team a big night out. After that, I'd give the rest to charity.

TWG: Do you reckon you would stick to that if you actually got the million bucks?

AC: Yeah, I've always had that kind of idea in my head.

TWG: What about movies, television or books? Have you got any favourites?

AC: Yeah, a few TV shows at the moment. One called Power - 50 Cent is in that. It's one of my favourites. Ballers, with The Rock, and I've started to watch Ray Donovan, recommended to me by Matt Sim. I usually have to kill a bit of time when I'm away at the coast on my own, so I've been getting into my TV shows a fair bit lately.

TWG: Do you get into music on the day of a game, to rev yourself up?

AC:  Actually, we've got a speaker in the dressing-room and I'm in charge of playing the music at the moment. I stick to my hip-hop and R&B - '90s hip-hop, as well as modern-day stuff. Most of the boys like it. You get the odd one or two who have a bit of a whinge, but I like that responsibility.

TWG: What is your greatest ambition?

AC: That would be to play in a strong league in Europe and one day play for a club in Uruguay where my parents are from - Nacional. That would be a dream of mine. And obviously to play for my country as well.

TWG: It sounds like you're very close to your parents. Have they had a big influence on you?

AC: Yeah, most definitely. My whole family has been great. My parents have supported me from day one and I owe everything I have to them, so hopefully one day I get the chance to repay them.