|By BREN O'BRIEN
A-League champions Central Coast have been bolstered by the news that Matt Simon, who left the club to play in Korea 16 months ago, has returned to sign a one-year deal.
Simon was released from K-League side Chunnam Dragons in April after a series of injuries and had been courted by several A-League clubs.
The Mariners and Western Sydney Wanderers were the front runners and Melbourne Heart were also reportedly interested, with the Gosford-based club winning the race for the 27-year-old's signature.
"I am really excited to come back to the club," Simon said. "I had a tough time in Korea with injury. But it's a great time to come back and I am happy to be joining the champions."
Coach Graham Arnold is delighted to have the target man back in the fold.
"It is great to have Matty back," Arnold said. "He's a local player, a fan favourite, was born and developed on the Coast, and it's great the supporters will get the chance to see him in our colours again.
"At the peak of his powers, Matt is one of the A-League's best players. We also like recruiting people who we believe will fit seamlessly into the culture we have built at the club, and we know Matt not only fits but enhances our camaraderie and culture."
Simon played 124 games for the Mariners before he left, scoring 40 goals. His time in Korea saw him play just six games for the Dragons.