New Mariners striker Daniel Heffernan has challenged Hyundai A-League coaches to monitor more closely PS4 NPL talent on their doorsteps, instead of looking overseas when assembling squad rosters.
Heffernan, 28, caught the eye of Tony Walmsley with his performances for Heidelberg United in the Westfield FFA Cup.
The Englishman subsequently scored a hat-trick in a pre-season friendly for the Mariners against Western Sydney Wanderers, which confirmed to Walmsley they may've found a gem.
Heffernan was a late addition to the Central Coast squad after finally getting his visa clearance and signing his first professional contract.
Last weekend, the striker duly made his A-League debut off the bench in the Mariners' 2-1 loss to Brisbane Roar at Suncorp.
He believes the pedigree of the players in the National Premier Leagues (NPL) is not being given enough consideration by A-League coaches.
And the big forward is happy to be an ambassador for Australia’s second tier.
“It’s always a gamble taking players from the State League but there’s a lot of talented young players that I’ve played against in Victoria I think are up to it,” Heffernan told a-league.com.au from the Mariners' Centre of Excellence.
“There’s going to be players obviously nationwide that deserve the opportunity it’s just whether some managers are willing to take that chance.
“From the NPL side of things there seems to be a lot of recycled A-League players who just keep getting gigs at different clubs."
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Having scored the fastest FFA Cup goal in the Round of 16 to help Heidelberg past Sydney United 58, the 'Bergers were knocked out of the Cup by John van ’t Schip’s side.
The Mancunian will no doubt be seeking a measure of revenge when the Mariners play Melbourne City at AAMI Park this weekend.
“It’s always been something I wanted to happen, it just seemed less and less likely as I got older,” said Heffernan.
“I’ve been fortunate that I’ve always been able to score at any level from amateur to semi-pro. Although I’m 28 I’m treating it like I’m a youngster coming through.
“Stepping into the full-time I’m going to be training every day, I’ll be practicing my shots, finishing, everything.
“I’m hoping to be able to set a benchmark and be some sort of breakthrough for NPL players.
“If I can do well enough at the Mariners, then maybe clubs will take more of a gamble with NPL players."