Matt Simon receives Socceroos cap ahead of Mariners match #200

Last Wednesday was a night to remember on the Central Coast as Mariners stalwart Matt Simon played his 200th A-League match in Yellow and Navy. 

In a special pre-match presentation, Simon was surprised by club teammate and fellow Socceroo Oliver Bozanic, who presented him with his Socceroos cap. 

The Central Coast club legend became Socceroo #526 back in 2009 when he made two full international appearances against Indonesia and Kuwait. 

Matt Simon
January 2009: Matt Simon in action during Australia's 0-0 draw with Indonesia at Bung Karno stadium in Jakarta

The 35-year-old still recalls his time in Green and Gold with a smile.

"To be able to represent my country on the international stage is something that I've cherished my whole career," he told

"It's the highest level you can play and it's something so special to be able to stand there with your teammates and sing the national anthem. I have never taken it for granted and it's still something that I'm very proud of.

It was a great feeling to be able to have the cap presentation on a milestone night of mine. I am very happy and proud that I could receive it in front of family and friends." 

Matt Simon
Matt Simon was a late addition to Australia's squad for Beijing 2008

Simon also looks back proudly on his time representing Australia at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. 

This year, he has taken on an important mentoring role for a number of his younger teammates who are currently in contention for Olyroos selection this season. 

"The boys know that it's a big year for themselves," Simon shared.

"I was lucky enough to be able to go to an Olympics myself and I've told them what it feels like to be able to call yourself an Olympian.

"They're all very excited for the months that are coming up and they will all work hard and concentrate on performing to put their name up and around where they need to be." 

Matt Simon
Simon drew his side level from the penalty spot on Wednesday night.

The 90 minutes that followed Simon's special presentation on Wednesday provided a match befitting of the occasion as the home side turned around a 2-0 deficit to defeat Melbourne City 3-2. 

Unsurprisingly the Mariners skipper was at the core of the action, setting up his side's first before winning a penalty which he slotted home for their second. 

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Football Australia National Teams staff Graham Arnold, John Crawley and Andrew Clark, all who worked with Simon over the years during their time at Central Coast Mariners and Sydney FC were among his family and friends supporting from the stands. 

"It was a huge night," Simon told FOX Sports post-match.

"It didn’t really hit me, the milestone, until I got to the ground where the club had organised a function beforehand and Arnie, Clarky and John Crawley were out there - a couple of old friends from back in the day. 

"It sort of hit me then,  just before I went into the change room, that it was a pretty big game.

"I’m just happy that we could get the result in the end, I think the boys put in a huge effort and I think we deserved the three points in the end."

Simon has continued to lead from the front for his hometown club, scoring again in another come-from-behind victory on the weekend against Western United. 

Alen Stajcic's resurgent Mariners are currently leading the A-League with 15 points to their name after seven matches. 

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