Academy Spotlight: Marcus Fernandez

Yaya and Kolo Toure, Phil and Gary Neville, Frank and Ronald de Boer.

It is always a unique quirk when brothers play on the same team as each other, and an extra layer of intrigue is added when the brothers are pitted against each other.

It is something youngster Marcus Fernandez experienced in the first NPL NSW game of the season, when he went up against his brother Mason and the Sutherland Sharks.

He admits it was a jarring experience at first, but soon he found his rhythm and treated it like a normal game.

“It was a bit weird (before) and in the first few minutes, especially when I was at home and Mason’s mates were giving it to me a bit, all the talking. But then on the field it just felt like a normal game after a few minutes.

“I got a few good tackles in on him as well, so it was good when we got home (and) we got the win as well.”

It made that game more special for Marcus, as he was – in his own words – surprisingly promoted to the starting side for such an important game, only finding out shortly before the game itself.

“It was a big surprise that I was going to be playing first grade that week, because I was just playing U18s two weeks before and then I was straight away in the first grade lineup.

“It really expresses (the) belief that Christo (coach Andrew Christiansen) and the coaches have in the young players. It’s good to know that they have confidence in young boys like me and a few others that we can step up.”

Fernandez has been able to keep up his consistent form, playing 11 games for the first grade side – including six starts – as they sit in third place just after the halfway mark of the season.
It marks a big step up for someone who only played once in the first grade side last season, but Fernandez feels he has handled the jump in expectations well, and wants to continue his improvement.

“I was playing in the U18s last year and have been involved in the first team this year, so I think I’ve handled it well so far, the pressure and everything.

“I still think I could be scoring more goals, usually I’ll be scoring 15 goals a season but I haven’t scored this season, (it’s) a bit of a drought.”

“I want to get more involved in the first team, get more game time in there, and get a few goals and assists on my belt; I feel like I really haven’t really reached my best this year (in those areas).”

He also wants to improve his standing in the team, both in games started as well as being more of a leader – something he does when he plays with the U20s side.

He had good experience earlier in the year when the Wanderers defeated Wollongong Wolves with a completely rotated side, and Fernandez says it shows the depth of quality in the club’s academy ranks.

“It was really good to show that the young boys still can handle the pressures of first grade, and I think we played really well with the games. It showed the maturity of some of the boys.”