Is it time to take Bolt’s A-League dream seriously?
IF USAIN Bolt improves at the same rate he has done since his first training session with Central Coast Mariners, senior A-League appearances are not beyond the realms.
His debut training session on August 21 and his first friendly 10 days later indicated Bolt was too far off the pace to be a realistic shot of earning a contract.
Friday night's display was a huge improvement, against stronger opposition.
It should not come as a complete surprise. One thing that people underestimate is the eight-time Olympic champion's training application.
"Listen, the work is behind the scenes. Competition is the easy part. Behind the scenes is where everything is done to get to that one race that you need to run,'' he said in the documentary Usain Bolt: The Fastest Man Alive.
"A lot of people just see you run and they say 'it looks so easy, effortless'. But before it gets to that point, it's hard work - day in, day out sacrifice."
While many people just see the flashy side of Bolt, who does enjoy parties and champagne, he is applying himself by doing a host of "extras", ranging from skills work to conditioning with the Mariners coaching staff.
His sharper skills and bigger motor (sprinting training is completely different to football conditioning) were on display when he comfortably ran out 75 minutes.
Beyond the two goals - the first of which was taken superbly while the second was aided by calamitous defending - there were enough "football instincts" in that performance to indicate he would give this "experiment" a red-hot shake.
Bolt, 32, will keep training with the Mariners, who will give him until January before making a call. The challenge will be trying to expose him to match conditions.
There is undoubtedly a marketing element to this but, with the world watching on, Bolt has shown why he is a world champion sportsman and why it would be foolish to write him off.
"It was a big deal. First proper match, first start scoring two goals, it was a good feeling because this is what I'm working towards,'' Bolt told Fox Sports.
"I will try to improve myself and try to get better and I'm on the way to doing that."
This story may yet have some legs in it.
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