Big A-League season looms for Zac Anderson
OFF-season sessions with the Sunshine Coast Fire helped Central Coast star Zac Anderson stay in shape as he prepares to take a leadership role with the A-League powerhouse.
The 23-year-old said yesterday that sessions with the Kawana-based NPL club helped him stay ahead of the game before returning to Gosford for pre-season training.
"I just did some things with them, just little things because I wanted to make sure when I came back (to the Mariners) I wasn't starting from scratch," he said.
"I wanted to be a little ahead of where I should be."
He said he was eager to build on a successful 2014 season that saw him become a starter for coach Phil Moss and gain playoff and Asian Champions League experience.
"I had a really good year last year, playing 30 games and I felt like I really grew as a player and as a person," he said.
"I definitely feel like I can step into a leadership role this year."
Anderson, who signed a contract extension last season, said he believes he can help Central Coast's young squad deliver a third premiership and second championship.
"I've been able to work with some fantastic individuals who showed fantastic leadership qualities and I've just tried to learn as much as I can," he said.
"I've always had that desire to lead and set a good example. I've just kind of tried to bring it on naturally over the years and this season I've just made it one of my goals to really help the boys improve and strive for success."
But the central defender does not want to ruffle the feathers of club captain John Hutchinson, who he counts as one of his biggest influences. "I'm not worried about wearing the armband or having the "c" next to my name," he said.
"LEADERSHIP for me is a lot different than just being the captain. (Hutchinson) is a fantastic leader and someone I look up to and try to learn from every day," the Maroochydore and Caloundra junior product said.
"Leadership for me is something that doesn't necessarily come with a title. It's something you prove and you gain and knowing that I'm really enjoying that role of working hard and helping the boys really achieve something this pre-season.
"It's completely down to the individual but for me it's not only about words, it's about actions. I've tried to lead a bit more by way of action.
"It's about being professional, making sure you do the right thing to prepare for day-to-day activity as a professional athlete.
"I just try to be the best role model I can be for the younger boys and try and also uphold the strict traditions of the senior players and what we're trying to achieve as the Mariners."
Central Coast's season begins on October 11 against Newcastle Jets.
The Mariners began its pre-season with an FFA Cup victory over South Coast Wolves and continues its preparation tonight against NPL side Marconi Stallions.