Mariners complete swoop for Dutch midfielder Tom Hiariej

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Central Coast boss Paul Okon believes he has identified the player to cover the departure of ex-skipper Nick Montgomery

Central Coast Mariners have announced the signing of Dutch midfielder Tom Hiariej for the next two A-League seasons.

The 28-year-old joins from Eredivisie club Groningen, where new Socceroos winger Ajdin Hrustic and fellow Australian Jason Davidson have played this season.

Hiariej will be third Dutchman to play for the Mariners, following in the footsteps of A-League championship winner Patrick Zwaanswijk and another defender Marcel Siep.

Central Coast coach Paul Okon hopes Hiariej can help cover the departure of former skipper Nick Montgomery, who has retired from professional football.

Montgomery leaves Mariners for Wollongong Wolves

"I am really excited for this challenge and I hope I can really add something to the Mariners and football in Australia," Hiariej said in a statement.

Groningen - Utrecht, Tom Hiariej, Sofyan Amrabat, 25-02-2017

Tom Hiariej, Groningen

"Coming to the Mariners, we want to be playing finals football.

"For me personally, it's a new adventure and I look forward to learning a lot from the Australian culture and the people."

Hiariej made over 200 top-flight appearances in a ten-year career with Groningen, graduating from the club's youth academy.

O'Donovan, Izzo leave CCM

He also spent two short loan stints with Dutch clubs FC Emmen in 2012-13 and SC Cambuur in 2015-16.

This season, Hiariej played 25 of Groningen's 34 Eredivisie matches, notching two assists.

 

Mariners coach Paul Okon met Hiariej on his recent scouting trip and watched him play against PSV Eindhoven.

"We were actually looking at Tom in the January transfer window and were very close to signing him," Okon revealed.

Hrustic savouring Groningen breakthrough

"At the time, Groningen decided that they wouldn't release him, which was disappointing for us because we thought he really would have added value at that time of the season.

Tom Hiariej SC Cambuur Eredivisie

Tom Hiariej, SC Cambuur

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"We've kept dialogue since and followed him throughout the remainder of the season.

"We knew that Tom was open to the idea of exploring an opportunity and adventure in a country like Australia and it's exciting to have him here for at least the next two seasons."

While Hiariej has been signed to play in midfield, the former Netherlands youth international has played across the back four earlier in his career. 

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