Bolt Out Of The Blocks: Sprint King Plays His First Match With Mariners
While he admits his fitness isn't yet up to scratch, Usain Bolt is determined to stick it out for the long haul with the Central Coast Mariners.
The cannon goes off every time the Mariners score a goal but we're never ready for it.
There's a little over 20 minutes left in the game, it's 6-0 to the Mariners and Usain Bolt is still sitting on the bench in his blue and gold track suit.
The Central Coast club aren't shying away from the fact almost 10,000 fans have turned out to a trial game to watch his cameo appearance, making sure he's on the big screen virtually the whole time.
Finally, in the 72nd minute, the sprint king gets the call and with his gloves still on, takes the field.
Usain Bolt is on at Central Coast stadium like a Ferrari out of the garage, but with an L plate on the back. An eight-time Olympic gold medalist chasing his boyhood dream.
He tries a dummy but it doesn't come off and while the crowd want to see the fastest man in the world in full flight, he's puffing after ten minutes.
This is a different kind of running, it's not all over in 9.58 seconds (a world record Bolt references with the number 95 on the back of his jersey).
He has a half chance infront of goal but it’s blocked by the desperate defence of an amateur football side which isn't about to give a living legend a free ride.
The game finishes 6-1 and Bolt waves to the crowd, telling fans to come and say hi to him in the street -- an offer which many have taken him up on.
In his media conference, he admits he’s short of fitness.
"In four months time I'll be fit, I'll be getting a lot more time on the ball," Bolt told reporters.
"I personally feel I'll get a contract by then."
Bolt is here for the long haul.
He’s laid back but dead serious when discussing a future in football, explaining why Cristiano Ronaldo is his favourite player because of his work ethic and the last time Bolt committed to a sport, he became the greatest.
While he’s older now, the track legend is just as determined.
"I feel like with track and field it's not that rough on your body," he said.
"People play rugby [and] football, it's just a lot of contact sport and we don't have the contact so I don' think it's hard on my body so, I think I'm good for five years pretty much. I'm in good shape, I'm feeling young and ready to go."
The Mariners, who have collected wooden spoons or come close for four seasons, say it’s a "win-win exercise."
"It's a great, great exercise and the club need to be applauded for going out on a limb," head coach Mike Mulvey said.
With the phones suddenly running hot, the club signed a new major sponsor midweek.
They want to win back their fans, and as Bolt patiently poses for photographs and signs jerseys at the back of the stadium at 11pm, it seems they’re on the right track.