YOU could be excused for thinking you were watching the Central Coast Mariners of 2006-07 when Wayne O’Sullivan, Andre Gumprecht and Damien Brown ran around in yellow and blue shirts on Sunday at Wanderers Oval.
The performance of the veteran trio in Lake Macquarie’s 2-0 win over Broadmeadow showed they have lost little in guile from their A-League playing days.
However, it is their influence off the park which has been every bit as important for the Roosters in their first season back in the Northern NSW State League.
O’Sullivan is the Jets W-League coach and is in charge of Newcastle’s NSW Institute of Sport football program.
Through O’Sullivan, Lakes have signed NSWIS trio Harry McGuire, Dylan Murphy and Matthew Comerford this season.
Gumprecht, a junior of Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen, has his own soccer academy and Brown is the assistant coach of the Mariners youth side.
‘‘They bring more than you can imagine,’’ Roosters coach Chris Turner said.
‘‘I’ve got three 17-year-olds in my team and right after my warm-up there’s Wayne O’Sullivan giving some instruction to Dylan Murphy, and you can’t replace that because he’s getting quality tuition out on the park.
‘‘They’re a group that’s been together before and they know each other’s games, and once you do that, the learning is accelerated as well.
‘‘For me that’s the ultimate luxury, because I’ve got three guys in particular who are highly qualified.’’
Turner said despite the coaching and playing experience of the ex-Mariners, he said he was not intimidated about calling the shots.
‘‘I get on with them particularly well,’’ he said.
‘‘They all know where I’m up to and we’re very respectful of each other.’’
On Sunday Brown was substituted after 69 minutes and was obviously still building up his fitness.
O’Sullivan and Gumprecht played the full 90 and were superb in orchestrating the attack and defence from the central defence and midfield respectively.
‘‘These guys could be playing fifth division or whatever and they’d give you the same effort,’’ Turner said.
‘‘They’re professional footballers and it’s been ingrained in them.’’