Bluebirds United's Sam Skinner (right) will make the move to Mackay in January to play for Magpies Crusaders in the NPL Queensland.
Bluebirds United's Sam Skinner (right) will make the move to Mackay in January to play for Magpies Crusaders in the NPL Queensland.

Teen CQ product set to star in Magpies Crusaders midfield

Sam Skinner’s competitive Magpies Crusaders introduction was a 17-minute stint against A-League giants Brisbane Roar.

Talk about into the deep end.

But the 17-year-old Rockhampton midfielder handled the biggest moment of his fledgling football career with aplomb – and it gave MCU coach Tom Ballantyne all the confidence he needed to bring the talented prospect on board for 2021.

Skinner is one of the few fresh faces making their way to Mackay ahead of the 2021 NPL Queensland season.

And though he may not have the playing resume of some of his more experienced teammates, the Central Queensland product should fit in nicely at the next level.

“I’m excited to play against a higher level of opposition alongside a good group of quality players,” Skinner said.

“There’s some great players there, which helped me in my decision to come to the club, because I know I can really learn off some of the more experienced players.”

The right-footer made his way onto Magpies Crusaders’ radar when he starred for the U16 Central Queensland team against the MCU U16s last year.

“I came up for a trial after that, but we decided that we would wait a year,” Skinner said.

“We decided I would finish Grade 12 first and then come up for a trial again.”

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Skinner returned to Mackay in early November for said trial, which included the brief appearance against the Roar in the pre-season friendly at Sologinkin Oval.

“It was an amazing experience to play against opposition of that level,” he said.

“It was good to see the standard and how much work you need to put in to push to play at that level.

“After that we were in contact again and Tom told me he wanted me to come up.”

Deployed as an attacking midfielder for Central Queensland Premier League club Bluebirds United, Skinner scored eight goals in 16 games.

The Bluebirds finished runners-up to Frenchville in the grand final on November 7, going down 2-1.

With a keen eye for going forward, Skinner’s greatest asset is his ability to create space for teammates to exploit close to goal.

He will spend Christmas with family in Rockhampton before completing his move to Mackay in early January.

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