While determined to make up for lost time on the field due to injury, Central Coast Mariners forward Blake Powell has also found his niche off the field.

Courtesy of the PFA’s Beyond the 90 program, which provides valuable work experience, skills, contacts and insight into a new career or industry, Powell is turning his interest in property and real estate into a bona fide career option post football.

After signing with the Mariners and arriving in Gosford last year, Powell purchased a property on the New South Wales central coast from local agents Gittoes in East Gosford.

His search for a place triggered the 26 year olds interest and fascination in the property game and he says there are aspects of the real estate industry that interested him.

“I’ve always been interested in investments and investment properties and researching the market,” said Powell.

“When I bought a place up here I obviously had to do some research for it, look at tracks and trends and see what was around the place.

“It wasn’t a chore for me. I really enjoyed doing it so I wanted to get to know the industry a bit more and this is the perfect way to learn more about it.”

Enter the PFA’s Beyond the 90 program, which has enabled Powell to capitalise on an opportunity to get his foot in the door of a real estate agency.

“When the PFA came around and spoke to each of the clubs before the start of the season, the Beyond the 90 program took my interest as it essentially finds you paid work experience in whatever field you want to do,” Powell said.

“You don’t know how long you’re going to be in the game for. With injuries and what not, I think in Australia the average career is two or three years, so I thought let’s do this.

“I spoke to my Player Development Manager Emily Figueroa about it and they contacted Gittoes for me, who I had a relationship with previously because they sold me the house I bought.

“From that I knew one of their sales agents Trent Mullen, and he was all for it, so I’ve started doing some work experience with him.”

While Powell is currently only spending one day a week with Gittoes, it has not taken him long to work out where his strengths lie, what he is good at and the aspect of the industry he enjoys.

“The sales side is something I’m really interested in and I can see myself being a sales agent,” said Powell.

“I feel like I can talk and relate well to people and find common ground to get to know them easily.”

“I’ve been watching Trent on how he talks to clients and he’s just a really down to earth, normal person. If you can find a common ground with a client they’re likely to give you their business because they can relate to you more.”

Powell, like many players who have utilised the Beyond the 90 program, strongly believes in having an outlet away from the game. He is a firm believer that a balance between football and an off field interest, passion or vocation will go a long way to making him a better player.

“On the days I go to Gittoes, I won’t think about football,” said Powell.

“I’ll just be absorbing as much information as I can from Trent, who is in the business and sales side of property.

“We go and do pre settlement inspections and he teaches me about some of their programs and we do research and look at market updates, so it gives me another outlet and releases some of the pressures of day to day football and training.

“In a way it makes me feel a bit fresher for training.

“I think it’s very important to have that balance in your life. When you get football drilled into you every day for years and years you’re eventually going to get burnt out and start to not enjoy it, so it’s important to have other passions to switch off from time to time.”

Powell hopes his experience can prove an example and inspiration for his team mates to consider following.

“I’ve never been one to sit on my arse and watch movies and play PlayStation all day,” said Powell.

“I’m realistic and I know football is not going to be there forever so why not use this time that I have now and get some experience under my belt. It’s only going to benefit me in the future, that’s how I see it.

“We all know what football is like, it’s volatile, it’s very up and down and in those times that you’re feeling down you need an outlet to bring yourself back up again.

“If you have an outlet you can refresh and come back to training feeling better.

“It’s a great program that the PFA have put on and I find it amazing that there aren’t more players taking advantage of it.

“The boys have so much time on their hands, you can definitely make more of it, whether that’s studying or doing this Beyond the 90 program.”

There is reason behind Powell’s outlook as he arguably knows better than most the turbulent nature of professional football. His professional football journey has taken him from the National Premier Leagues to Sydney FC, back to the NPL, then for a season at Wellington Phoenix before securing his current contract with the Central Coast Mariners.

In January of this year he suffered a major injury setback that required micro-fracture surgery on his left leg and also popliteal decompressions in both legs.

“I wasn’t getting enough blood supply to my lower legs, which ultimately made my feet go numb while I was running,” said Powell.

“Basically it’s a bit of muscle that compresses the arteries which cuts off the circulation.”

But having made his long awaited return against his former club, Wellington Phoenix in November, Powell’s fortunes on and off the field are starting to rise. For now, trying to consolidate his place in the Mariners’ team takes priority, but he knows he has laid a foundation for when that time comes when he no longer pulls on the boots.

“I like to live in the moment and right now I’m working hard to try and remain in the Mariners squad,” said Powell.

“That’s my immediate focus and I know if I perform every week at every training session it’s only going to benefit my career so I just take it a day at a time and try not to get ahead of myself.”

Finally, how does Powell rate the current central coast property market?

“Hopefully the market on the Central Coast will grow in the years to come,” said Powell.

“When people are sick of the traffic and the busyness of Sydney they’ll flock up here and take advantage of how close the beaches are. It’s pretty good up here!”

For more information on the PFA Beyond the 90 program or Player Development Program contact your Player Development Manager or National Manager, Player Development, Beau Busch beau@pfa.net.au.