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By ESPN Staff

Simon returns to Mariners on one-year deal

Former Central Coast striker Matt Simon will be coming back home to the Mariners after penning a new one-year deal with the A-League champions.

Simon, who left the Mariners in early 2012 to join K-League side Chunnam Dragons, hopes to put an injury-plagued season in Korea behind him.

A string of injuries ruined his move overseas, which ended in his release from the club earlier this year.

The 27-year old striker spent the past 18 months with the Dragons but made just six appearances in the K-League after a $170,000 transfer.

Before that, however, Simon - who came through the junior ranks at regional clubs Wyoming and East Gosford - was a star with the Mariners, scoring 36 goals after joining the club in 2006 - a club record that still stands.

Simon is keen to return to his match-winning form in more familiar surroundings on NSW's Central Coast.

"I am really excited to come back to the club," Simon said in a statement on Thursday.

"I had a tough time in Korea with injury but it's a great time to come back and I am happy to be joining the champions."

Simon labelled the Mariners' coaching and performance staff as the best in the business and said they played a big part in his decision to come home.

"I couldn't quite get my body right in Korea," he said.

"I have been back on the park ... over the last three weeks. Slowly, step by step, I am making progress.

"It's a long off-season so there's plenty of time for me to work on what I need to before the start of next season."

Mariners coach Graham Arnold described Simon's signing as a major coup for the club.

"It is great to have Matty back," Arnold said.

"He's a local player, a fan favourite, was born and developed on the coast, and it's great the supporters will get the chance to see him in our colours again."

Simon hit top form in the 2008/2009 A-League season, scoring 11 goals in just 21 appearances.

He shared the Mariners' Golden Boot Award with Bernie Ibini and Patrick Zwaanswijk in 2011/2012, scoring seven goals despite only making 14 appearances.


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