Roar release Fitzgerald

January 22, 2013
By Laine Clark

The mooted arrival of Young Socceroo Steven Lustica at A-League champions Brisbane Roar has coincided with exciting winger Nick Fitzgerald's departure.

Lustica, 21, is reportedly on loan from Croatian giants Hajduk Split and could make his Roar debut as early as Saturday night against A-League arch rivals the Glory in Perth.

The talented midfielder is set to reunite with his former Gold Coast United youth coach Mike Mulvey at Brisbane.

They will hope history repeats when they again link together, as expected - they won successive youth titles for the now defunct Gold Coast club with Lustica claiming the 2011 national youth player of the year award.

Brisbane need a shot in the arm after slumping to their 10th loss of the season last round, ensuring they are just one point clear of dead-last Wellington with 10 regular season rounds left.

Meanwhile, Fitzgerald, 20, will link with ladder leaders Central Coast after being released by the Roar on Wednesday.

Fitzgerald had been banished to the Roar youth team after signing a two-year deal with the Mariners which started next season.

But Mulvey has had a change of heart and released Fitzgerald "effective immediately" after a plea from Mariners coach Graham Arnold to send the youngster to Gosford after the Central Coast were rocked by the departure of Tom Rogic (Celtic) and Bernie Ibini's likely move to Belgian outfit Club Brugge.

Fitzgerald started his A-League career with the Mariners and played one game before being lured to the Roar in 2010 by then coach Ange Postecoglou.

He made 24 A-League appearances for the Roar - scoring one goal - and also featured in the club's inaugural 2012 AFC Champions League campaign, scoring against eventual winners Ulsan Hyundai in Korea.

"I've had a good two years here in Brisbane and really enjoyed my time at the club," Fitzgerald said.