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Iwai makes impact on Australian return

The Vanuatu international joined up with the Brisbane-based club once again this month after a strong season with Tafea in the National Super League and has not taken long to make his mark.
He settled in with an appearance off the bench in a 2-2 draw with leaders Queensland Lions in the Brisbane Premier Division One before showing what he is capable of a week later in his home debut against Slacks Creek.
The match saw Mitchelton notch their first win in five outings with a 2-0 victory and Iwai played a big role in the success, turning in a man-of-the-match performance as the striking partner of legendary former Fijian international Esala Masi.
Iwai threatened the Slacks Creek defence on numerous occasions and created a raft of opportunities alongside the impressive Masi, who converted a penalty midway through the second half to give his side the lead.
Mitchelton coach Rohan Cassell is delighted with the impact the Vanuatu star has had on his side and hopes to continue getting the best out of him.
“Iwai is unique, a one-off, and I feel privileged to have him at the club,” Cassell says.
“I hope he will continue being at ease here with Mitchelton and enjoy having the right players around him. When he doesn’t play well it’s because there is something wrong with his environment so let’s hope the club can continue putting a team around him to make him happy.”
Iwai will spend three months with Mitchelton and is pleased to be back for a second spell.
“I am excited about playing here again,” he says. “I still have a lot of friends here and, whenever I get the opportunity to play, I will try to do my best for the club.”
Whilst he is pleased to be in Australia, the 32-year-old is keen to stress that his heart will always be with Tafea.
“I would not say I’m unhappy in Port Vila,” he says. “I am really happy there and everyone knows Tafea is my club. Of course, I will miss Tafea, the boss, the players and my family.”
Unfortunately for Vanuatu coach Saby Natonga, the star striker’s contract with Mitchelton will prevent him from taking part in the national team’s friendly matches against Solomon Islands and Fiji next month.
For more on Vanuatu football go to www.vanuafoot.vu

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