JETS rookie Lucas Mauragis has been learning on the fly since he left the family home in Merimbula aged 13 and moved to Canberra to pursue a football career.
On Thursday, the 18-year-old scored his first senior goal for the Jets, slotting home an 83rd-minute equaliser for a 3-all draw with Macarthur at Maitland.
The goal epitomised how quickly the left-sided utility has progressed.
Caretaker coach Craig Deans did a video session on positioning with the wingback in the lead-up to the friendly.
"It is very early in his career and he is still learning," Deans said. "We pointed out where he needed to be in regards to getting into the box and scoring goals. Five minutes before he scored, there was another ball that went past the back post and he was 10 metres behind where he should have been.
"We reminded him where he needed to be. Next thing, a cross comes in and he scores. It is good for him because he is seeing the value of learning and training. He is a good kid and he works hard."
Jets youth team coach Daniel McBreen offered Mauragis a trial a year ago after he had watched a highlights video of the winger on Youtube.
"He came here on a youth team contract," Deans said. "Within three or four months he was offered a scholarship. He has been in with the first team for probably five months. It has been a fast step up. He knows he has a lot to work on to make it consistently to A-League level. But he has the basics - work ethic and attitude. He wants to listen, he wants to learn and he wants to get better.
"He is now in a battle with Connor O'Toole to play in that position. It's a good challenge for him.
"Connor scored two goals against Edgeworth. Lucas came off the bench against Macarthur and scored a goal. It's a nice little battle developing between them."
Mauragis wasn't the only player to make in impact of the bench. Trialists Ali Abbas, Antony Burke and Jack Armson did well and will continue to train for at least another week.
"They all came on and contributed to the game, which is what you want," Deans said. "Burkey came on at right wingback for the last 10 minutes and had a couple of moments where he looked dangerous. He passed the ball to Makis, who crossed for Lucas' equaliser. Ali went in as a 10 for Ramy Najjarine. He got in some good areas, was quite clever and caused some problems. Jack replaced Angus Thurgate and and did OK as well."
Overall, Deans was more than satisfied with the hit out.
Next is Melbourne City behind closed doors at McDonald Jones Stadium next Saturday.
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