Central Coast Mariners boss Mike Mulvey has admitted the club tried to sign Mitchell Duke at the start of the A-League season but couldn’t entice him to return to the Central Coast.

Instead, after leaving Japanese club Shimizu Pulse, Duke returned home to Sydney’s west, signing for the Western Sydney Wanderers.

“I always thought it was amazing how the Wanderers did what they did (in their first season)”, Duke said.

“I always thought that one day in my A-League career, I’d definitely love to play here and represent where you come from”.

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For Duke, that was a huge part in his decision to sign for the Wanderers – coming home.

Born and raised in Liverpool, Duke cited family being the main driving factor for his return to Western Sydney.

However, he has another spiritual home on the Central Coast, and the Central Coast fans still adore him, despite playing against them on Saturday night.

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Speaking to the media, Mariners’ boss Mike Mulvey admitted the club tried to sign Duke before he went to the Wanderers.

“We spoke to Dukey in the off-season”, said Mulvey.

“He came to the club and we had a chat with him, and we couldn’t entice him to the club at this time.

“He wears his heart on his sleeve, you can see it. It meant a lot to him when he scored that goal”.

Viewing comments on a Facebook post by Mitchell Duke, the Mariners fans still adore Dukey, and he would have been a huge asset to the Coast – on and off the field.

Great to get my first win with the club (first of many) and was great to play against my old club at the same time! Just…

Posted by Mitchell Duke on Saturday, 9 February 2019

The Mariners’ number one fan Jake Banks commented, “once a Mariners always a Mariner”.

Iain Faber commenting, “There’s a reason we want guys like you back at the club”.

Jackie Currey adding, “Why would be not, you are a gentleman on the field and off. A man who gives all he’s got on and off the field for the team he represents. We will support you no matter what colours you wear”.

Forgiving and loyal? Yes. Unhappy the Mariners couldn’t pull of a deal? Probably also yes.

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Football writer and radio presenter. Loves everything football (well, except Italian's diving since '06).