It may have looked like a gamble but Central Coast Mariners' signing of rookie coach Paul Okon is already paying off according to Connor Pain.
Pain put in a man of the match performance in the Mariners' startling comeback against Perth Glory that saw them draw level after being down 3-0 at the break and the 22 year-old attributed much of the credit to his new coach, who he worked with as a member of the Young Socceroos.
Okon took charge of the Mariners in August after the sacking of Tony Walmsley, being given little time to improve a struggling squad.
"I've been under him for two to three years now. It was pretty good to see him coming here. We knew what we were going to get," Pain said.
"The way we're trying to play, the wingers stay high and wide and make those runs in behind. I like doing my running in behind the defenders, so the way we're trying to play suits me to a T."
After struggling for game-time during his final season at Melbourne Victory, Pain made the move north to the Central Coast where a starting position was on offer.
"I've come here to try play a lot more games and try and do a lot more for the team," he said.
"The second half I think contributed to helping us get that scoreline reversed. I was pretty happy with my performance."
Not expected to compete for a finals spot, the winger was please with the way his club fought back against a favoured Perth side in their round one fixture.
"(Okon) came in after the game and was really happy with the way we fought. It's the way we are up here, fighting spirit has been drilled into us," he said.
"To do it in the first round to prove doubters wrong is a good first step."