Bolt bags a brace in first Mariners start

Mercury (Hobart) - - SPORT RUGBY LEAGUE, SOCCER, BOWLS - EMMA KEMP

WHERE were you when Usain Bolt scored his first goal for a pro­fes­sional foot­ball side?

A lit­tle fewer than 6000 were at Camp­bell­town Sta­dium last night to wit­ness the mo­ment live.

An­other few thou­sand sat on the couch at home watch­ing on TV, some un­doubt­edly cheer­ing, some in dis­be­lief that the Ja­maican track great they were sure was def­i­nitely not a foot­baller could do some­thing so foot­ball-like.

Be­cause Bolt’s maiden goal for Cen­tral Coast was a rip­per — a deft fin­ish that will un­likely prove enough on its own to war­rant an A-League con­tract — it might tem­po­rar­ily qui­eten some crit­ics.

Fifty-five min­utes into his Mariners start­ing de­but, the Ja­maican sprint le­gend broke into space and dashed on to a through-ball from Ross McCor­mack. With that lop­ing stride that so breezily broke the 100m and 200m world records mul­ti­ple times, he took it on the an­gle with his left foot — his only foot — and struck it low and hard past the goal­keeper at the near post.

If ever an ef­fort re­quired a “Light­ning Bolt” cel­e­bra­tion this was it, and the world’s fastest man duly obliged.

“It was a big deal,” Bolt said af­ter the game. “First start and scor­ing two goals was a good feel­ing. This is what I worked towards, I tried to im­prove my­self and get bet­ter.”

Ad­mit­tedly, it was a snap­shot amid a still-rudi­men­tary per­sonal dis­play against a Macarthur South West United XI com­prised of a hand­ful of the re­gion’s NPL play­ers.

And though light­ning did strike twice, the 32-year-old’s sec­ond goal came by virtue of a de­fen­sive mix-up that left him free to tap the ball into an empty net.

But a brace is how the Mariners’ most fa­mous tri­al­list’s 75 min­utes on the park will be re­mem­bered, two months af­ter he ar­rived in Gos­ford de­void of enough fit­ness to last five min­utes of train­ing drills.

The shift re­vealed real im­prove­ment, yet also showed signs his am­bi­tious sport switch re­mains a long-term project.

“I’ve been learn­ing a lot and per­son­ally feel I’ve been im­prov­ing quickly,” Bolt said.

“I’m just happy I could show the world I’m im­prov­ing.”

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