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Usain Bolt says he’ll definitely be nervous when he makes his first appearance for A-League club Central Coast Mariners in a pre-season practice match on Friday night.
The Olympic track great has been training on the left wing since beginning his trial with the club last week and says he hopes to play about 15-20 minutes against a Central Coast amateur selection in Gosford.
Mariners officials are predicting a crowd of about 12,000.
While Bolt has performed in front of far bigger crowds and on much grander stages, he expects to feel some butterflies.
“There definitely will be nerves, it’s not like it’s a charity game anymore,” he said.
“I expect to make mistakes but I also expect to go out there, make myself proud and to push myself.
“I know I’m not going to have a perfect game.”
Bolt did a full session today as opposed to half ones last week and at times it appeared to take a toll on the 32-year-old Jamaican superstar.
He was on his haunches and sitting on a cooler box at stages during the session, which was watched by NSW Origin rugby league coach Brad Fittler.
“I think the thing he’s struggling with more than anything else right now is getting used to the football fitness,” Mariners coach Mike Mulvey said.
Bolt said there hadn’t been a lot of improvement in that since last week but he felt there had been some.
“For me, it’s the stop and go’s, the tick-tacks. Because I’m not used to picking up speed, going back down, up and down, up and down, back and forth, that’s the most challenging.
“The season doesn’t start until the end of October so I have time.”
When asked if he was far from being at the required level for Friday’s hit-out, Bolt said: “I wouldn’t say far, it’s just time.
“I don’t know how my body is going to feel. I know when I’m on the field, I’m always going to push myself.”
Asked if Bolt’s skill levels were up to A-League standard, Mulvey said he was “doing OK”.
“He’s got rudimentary skills, there’s no problem about that. It’s about being able to do it at the speed that we do it.”