Austin's inherited powers a big plus for the Mariners

Mitch Austin during the FFA Cup match between Central Coast Mariners and Wellington Phoenix at Central Coast Stadium on August 11, 2015 in Gosford, Australia. Source: Getty Images Asia Pacific

The son of an international rugby league player, and the grandson of a star sprinter, Central Coast Mariners' Mitch Austin has professionalism running through his blood.

Austin didn't know it at the time, but his upbringing as the son of a professional rugby league player who regularly travelled to take up opportunities helped prepare him for the often nomadic life of a pro football player.

And the 24 year-old has already done plenty of travelling and spent time at numerous clubs himself - including being loaned out to several clubs in one year from Cambridge United while he was playing in lower-tier English football.

But now he is at Central Coast Mariners, which faces the challenge of trying to lift after a disappointing eighth-placed finish last season, and he has impressed with his pre-season performances as a wide attacking player.

Austin's dad, Greg, played for numerous rugby league clubs in England, as well as Manly-Warringah in Sydney. He also played rugby union in Europe towards the end of his career. Greg's dad, Reg, was a famous professional sprinter who only recently passed away.

Mitch said that after signing with the Mariners and returning to Australia several months ago - he is staying with his parents in Sydney at this stage - he at least got the chance to see his grandfather again before he died.

"It was good to see him and he was happy that I'd come back and was able to spend a bit of time with him again," Austin said. "He passed away two months ago. He had a bad fall and hit his head and he wasn't able to recover."

Austin was born in England in 1991 while his parents were over there as Greg was at the height of his rugby league career. And having spent roughly two-thirds of his life in England he has a pronounced English accent.

"We moved all over the place while dad was playing," Austin said. "We were in England for quite a while, at different places, and towards the end of dad's career we went to Italy for two years and then we went straight from there to Ireland for another year.

"My sister and I were at different schools all the time. I'm sure it has helped me adapt to life moving around as a football player, because I haven't had a problem with any of that.

"Dad brought us back to Australia when I was about eight and when I went back to England at 17 I went on my own and I didn't get homesick or any of that sort of stuff.

"There were no Aussies where I was living in England. My good mates were all English, so I picked up the accent again pretty quickly. I'd lived in Ireland for a year through dad's rugby and apparently I picked up the Irish accent pretty quickly while I was there as well.

"Mum and dad are living in Sydney now and I'm there at the moment. I haven't been at home for eight years, so it's pretty good to spend time with them now. I'm one of a few players who car-share to the Central Coast from Sydney.

"The boys who are living in Sydney might look at moving up in a couple of months and cutting down on the travel time."

Austin signed for two years with Mariners and is keeping his options open regarding the future. He just wants to play and has always been prepared to go where his best chance to develop as a footballer might be.

"Managers didn't seem to want to give me a chance," Austin said of the time in 2014 when he was loaned out several times from Cambridge United.

"So I just tried to get to a club where I could play. I'll go anywhere to improve, rather than just sit on the bench. I was happy to go somewhere to play.

"I'm happy to be here at the Mariners and I'm aiming at making it a very good two years. We'll see what happens after that. The A-League is broadcast overseas, so people see you play. Loads of players have done well here and gone overseas as a result.

"I'd like to go back overseas at some stage. I've only just turned 24, so I'm still fairly young. You only need one good season and clubs will start looking at you."

Austin said he aimed to make an impact from the wing for Mariners by not only delivering dangerous balls into the box but also scoring a few more goals himself.

"I've played everywhere, really, the last couple of seasons in England," he said. "Left back, right wing, left wing and in the middle. But I'm playing on the wing here, which is where I want to be playing. I aim to making a few goals and scoring a few as well.

"While I was still over in England I wanted to improve that part of it the last few years, get some more goals. Hopefully the goals will come in the A-League.

"My dad's big into the gym and he convinced me to get in there the last couple of years. I go to the gym a fair bit now. A lot of the boys don't really do that, but I find it helps me to be strong.

"I'm up against defenders who are big and strong, so if I'm weak I'm going to get pushed off the ball. I feel confident in my ability to compete for the ball and hold on to possession when I get it."

Source: SBS