Finally free of the shackles that choked him out of England, Central Coast winger Mitch Austin believes he can now flourish in the open spaces back home.
In the lead-up to last week's season-opener against Perth, Mariners coach Tony Walmsley preached about his intent to play high-tempo football.
And it was music to the ears of 24-year-old Austin, who shined in the side's impressive 3-2 victory in front of their home fans.
The new signing was a constant threat in his full shift down the left flank, producing a number of dangerous crosses for point man Roy O'Donovan.
"I wasn't expecting to start, but it was a good win," Austin told AAP.
"I thought I played pretty well. Now I've just got to back-up again this weekend."
The Sydney-born talent returned to Australia following a frustrating five years in the lower leagues in England where he bounced around five different clubs.
The challenges for Austin at each checkpoint were similar - they all played down a slim corridor that left him standing with the spectators.
"Over there it's all direct with long balls," he said.
"There are times where as a winger like myself, you're not even in the game because the ball's just smashed long."
The A-League was just two years old when Austin left home in search of a pathway to the Premier League.
But having watched the competition's growth over the past decade, Austin believes it has now surpassed England's lower divisions.
"It was one of the reasons why I came back, because I find that the technical side of the game suits my attributes, rather than just standing up top with the ball being smashed up to you and you've got to fight off six-foot-five centre-backs," he said.
Now, the former Cambridge United player says the best pathway overseas is showcasing your talent from home.
"The level I was playing in the UK, even though I felt I was playing well, you don't get the exposure compared to what you do over here in the A-League," he said.
"It's been proven that loads of Aussie players have gone to Europe after having a good season, and a lot of the previous Mariners players have as well.
"It's a good opportunity for me."
The Mariners' next clash is a visit to last-start winners Brisbane on Sunday.