Woodruffe joins Mariners

Central Coast Mariners has just one place up for grabs in its 20-man playing group following the acquisition of 19-year-old striker Russell Woodruffe.

Central Coast Mariners has just one place up for grabs in its 20-man playing group following the acquisition of 19-year-old striker Russell Woodruffe.

After a nine-month spell at English League Two side Bury - in which he was a regular scorer for the reserves team - Woodruffe returns to Australia and becomes the Mariners' third compulsory U-20 player along with defender Nigel Boogaard and goalkeeper Danny Vukovic.

"I'm honoured and delighted to have earned the chance to play in the Hyundai A-League," Woodruffe, who was introduced at a press conference on Tuesday morning, said.

"The set up here at the Mariners is fantastic and I can't wait to get amongst it on May 7."

Woodruffe earned a contract after impressing Mariners coach Lawrie McKinna during a three-game trial in which he scored four times.

"He's a good, young, exciting striker with a good nose for goal," McKinna explained.

"We look forward to him settling in and putting pressure on the other strikers in our squad."

Nick Mrdja, Stewart Petrie and Adam Kwasnik will be expected to shoulder most of the goalscoring burden for the Central Coast but Woodruffe could be the joker in the deck.

McKinna's side faces a tough task in round one of the 2005 FIFA Club World Championship Australian qualifying tournament on Saturday, when it faces a Newcastle United Jets line-up that includes Ned Zelic, Ante Milicic and Nick Carle.

However, the Mariners do have experienced campaigners Andre Gumprecht and Tom Pondeljak pulling the strings in midfield in what should be an entertaining tussle.
Source: SBS