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A-League champions keep making winning moves as Alou Kuol returns to the Mariners

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11th July, 2023

“Wunderbar!” was my first thought, having read various football headlines online. Signing Alou Kuol from Stuttgart was the best news, I believed, since the Mariners won the recent grand final over Melbourne City.

This was far bigger than Sam Silvera being sold to Middlesbrough, or even Nectar Triantis signing with Sunderland. It even trumped Jason Cummings’ move to Mohun Bagan.

Finally, a club that develops star players, was now buying a well-known talent. A gem, who coincidently, the Mariners helped uncover. Déjà vu? Welcome home, Alou.

My second reaction was a deep sense of respect for Nick Montgomery, coach of Central Coast. The return of Kuol says a lot about the gaffer’s calibre as a trusted mentor.

It’s why younger brother, Garang, had a successful Australian run, having being sold to the EPL club Newcastle United, from under Monty’s protective wing.

Nick Montgomery

Mariners coach Nick Montgomery. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Two years ago, a much younger Alou was used sparingly as an impact substitute, brought on in the closing minutes of a game. On multiple occasions, Kuol single-handedly won the match, gaining him cult status in Gosford.

After a couple seasons in Germany, however, will the former Bundesliga talent now be used as a main striker, filling in for Jason Cummings?


On the field we don’t know exactly what the Mariner’s coaching staff have planned, but, maybe Kuol’s arrival was planned well in advance?

I wouldn’t put it past Montgomery. It’s easy to speculate a “gentlemen’s agreement”, which forms an alliance with the coach and other quality athletes.

A example of this unbreakable player bond was filmed last month as cameras caught Cummings embracing Montgomery after the grand final win. “You’ve changed my life,” beamed Cummings.

In a brief moment of televised privacy, Montgomery addressed Cummings’ ear. “Just come back in two years,” the coach whispered, his final words muffled by a hug between the two champions.

The door, it appears, is always open in Gosford, ushering people towards Montgomery and his team.

Saying that, the opposite is also true. Chairman Richard Peil encourages transfers, as the Mariners are a “selling club”. Being the Anytime Fitness co-founder, Peil understands reward for hard work.


For Kuol, however, home is where the heart is. Back at sunny Gosford, another few seasons will probably enable him to join his brother at the Socceroos. Maybe there will even be a dedicated All-Access episode of his very own?

Magic happens when you’re part of Montgomery’s band of merry men. The Mariners might not be the richest football team around, but they can sure polish a few stones into beautiful diamonds.