Coast's A-Leaguers play on
THEY ended last season with the winds of uncertainty swirling around them after Gold Coast United's abrupt demise.
Now the Sunshine Coast's three A-League products - Mitch Cooper, Zac Anderson and Jerrad Tyson - are ensconced at new clubs in preparation for the launch this week of the new A-League season.
Cooper, the Australian under-17 midfield dynamo who was sensationally handed the captaincy at United last season, has signed a two-year contract with the Newcastle Jets.
Anderson, a 21-year-old tall defender, has linked with reigning premier Central Coast.
Goalie Tyson, who has represented Australia at under-20 and under-23 levels, was the last of the trio to find a new home when he signed with expansion club Western Sydney.
While all three sides are yet to reveal their line-ups for the opening round, it appears only Anderson is a chance of playing.
The Jets, who take on Adelaide at Hunter Stadium on Sunday and have signed former England international Emile Heskey, have not included 18-year-old Cooper in their reduced squad.
Western Sydney and Central Coast meet at Parramatta Stadium on Saturday night.
Anderson injured his shoulder in the off-season but is close to full fitness.
Mariners spokesman Ben O'Neill said the Australian under-23 representative was in the selection frame for the Wanderers clash but might have to make do with a bench spot.
"Trent Sainsbury plays the same role. He had an uninterrupted off-season so he's probably got the jump on him," O'Neill said.
O'Neill said Anderson had settled in superbly at the club, describing him as a "great physical specimen".
"He's got all the attributes as far as size, pace and strength go. He couldn't have fitted in better," he said.
Anderson's chances of becoming a regular starter at the Mariners improved when the club's long-standing captain and central defender Alex Wilkinson signed with Korean club Jeonbuk in July.
Anderson agreed he was unlikely to be in the run-on side this week.
"I'm staying positive and I've worked hard the last couple of weeks while back at full training to be at least competitive within the squad," he said.
While Tyson is Western Sydney's No.2 keeper behind veteran Ante Covic, being at a new club has him buzzing.
"I've got my body and my fitness to a level that I haven't been in for many, many years, so it's been very positive and a really exciting change for me," said Tyson, who was promoted to United's starting side last season when Kiwi international Glen Moss suffered a season-ending injury.
"I certainly hope at some point along the path over the season that I'll get an opportunity to get some game time."
Western Sydney welcomed its first marquee player, Japanese star Shinji Ono, this week.
The 2002 Asian player of the year had his first training session on Tuesday and Tyson said he instantly gelled with his new teammates.