Promising youngster Martin Fernandez is eager to continue making an impression at the Marconi Stallions.
The 19-year-old registered an impressive brace on Saturday night, inspiring the Stallions to a vital 4-2 victory over Mt. Druitt Town Rangers.
The performance earned him a maiden spot in the Ultra Football Team of the Week, and Fernandez confidently assured that Saturday’s showing is only the beginning.
“It was a good experience for myself and the team,” he reflected.
“We really needed that win to get into the top five.
“They’re my first two goals in first-grade football and there’s definitely more to come.
“This is just the start.”
Whilst both of his weekend goals arrived from set-pieces, Fernandez is a tricky attacking midfielder who enjoys driving forward at his opponents.
Yet maturely, the young-gun readily admits that his game is far from complete.
“I think taking on players is my biggest strength,” Fernandez said.
“I have always enjoyed dribbling, attacking with an eye for goal, shooting and scoring where I can.
“I think I still need to work on my defensive aspect of the game, and work harder to get back and help out.”
Fernandez is Marconi through and through.
Since joining the club as a junior, he has spent only a solitary season away, when in 2017 he was a member of the Western Sydney Wanderers academy side who took home the U18 National Premier Leagues Men’s 2 Championship.
Upon returning, he impressed in the U20s division before being offered a chance on the big stage by first grade manager Peter Tsekenis.
“I grew up playing for Marconi, living nearby in Abbotsbury it’s my local club,” Fernandez said.
“I’ve always looked up to players from Marconi.
“They (Marconi) are for me, one of the best teams in Australia, if not one of the best teams in football.
“Peter’s a very good coach, he’s given me some great opportunities.
“He said to me at the start of the year that I’ve got potential and ability so just need to put my head down and work.
“That’s what tried to do, so I earned my chances and took them.”
Fernandez has treasured the experiences that have sprung up in recent weeks, including his side’s 2-1 triumph over local rivals Sydney United 58 which secured Marconi’s first Waratah Cup since 2010.
He is also eagerly anticipating the first inter-state away trip of his short career, when Marconi travel to South Hobart in pursuit of a spot in the FFA Cup Round of 16.
But for Fernandez, his time spent on the training ground has been of equal importance to these showpiece events.
He lauded the impact of the established stars in Tsekenis’ roster, who have welcomed the promising youngster with open arms.
“The more experienced players like Marko Jesic have given me a lot of advice,” Fernandez revealed.
“As a young player, Jesic, the Speranza brothers and everyone in the team have me helped me a lot to grow my game.”
On top of their cup commitments, Marconi are in the midst of a congested mid-table struggle for the top five.
Heading into the final three rounds of the campaign, Fernandez expressed his personal belief in the side to gather the necessary results.
“I’m definitely confident,” he enforced.
“We’ve done so well in the last few weeks.
“I think our team is very strong, we’re playing with confidence and just have to finish the job.”
“I just want to continue playing the way I have been, scoring and doing my job for the team.
“We will keep pushing, hopefully win more games to get to the semis and see what happens there.”
Long term, Fernandez will give his all pursuing his dream of earning a living doing what he loves.
“Of course, I want to play at a professional level one day,” he revealed.
“That could either be overseas or in the A-League.
“I would love to not have to work and just play football; that’s my dream and my passion.”
Fernandez and Marconi face a must-win encounter with top five rivals Sydney Olympic at Belmore on Sunday afternoon.
By National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s Reporter Chris Curulli (Twitter handle @ChrisCurulli)