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Mariners lure Dutchman Hiariej to A-League

NZN 23/05/2017

Central Coast have begun their A-League off-season recruitment drive by announcing a two-year deal with Dutchman Tom Hiariej.

The 28-year-old is set to join the Gosford-based club from Eredivisie outfit FC Groningen, pending a medical on his arrival for pre-season training in June.

The versatile defensive midfielder, who can also play in the backline, made his debut for Groningen in 2007.

Apart from short-term loan spells with FC Emmen and SC Cambuur, he has spent his entire senior career with Groningen.

Hiariej played 25 Dutch top-flight games last season and has more than 200 professional games to his credit.

"I am really excited for this challenge and I hope I can really add something to the Mariners and football in Australia," Hiariej said.

"Coming to the Mariners, we want to be playing finals football.

"For me personally, it's a new adventure and I look forward to learning a lot from the Australian culture and the people."

Hiariej will fill the void at the Mariners left by the retirement of captain Nick Montgomery, with Mariners coach Paul Okon keen to add some much-needed experience to his youthful squad.

"We were actually looking at Tom in the January transfer window and were very close to signing him," Mariners coach Paul Okon said.

"Tom is a versatile player but we have predominantly looked at him as a central midfielder - he's a ball playing midfielder, he's very good in tight areas and his work rate is very high so he ticks the boxes in terms of what we were looking for ...

"Part of the conversation with him was making him aware that the Mariners have a number of young players, we have a philosophy of giving them an opportunity and he would have to play a leadership role because of his experience having played so many games in the Dutch first division."

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