Gold Coast’s Rising Son


Rising Gold Coast United starlet Ben Halloran still has to pinch himself sometimes – and not only because he’s on the cusp of what he thinks could be a “breakthrough season” for him.

Rising Gold Coast United starlet Ben Halloran still has to pinch himself sometimes – and not only because he’s on the cusp of what he thinks could be a “breakthrough season” for him.

The 19-year-old winger and part-time Young Socceroo is also living out his professional football dream with teammate and longtime friend, striker Chris Harold.

Ask any of their teammates or coaches at United and they will tell you the two are inseparable and have been joined at the hip since their high school days.

Halloran and Harold – born exactly one month apart – both went to Brisbane State High and starred in the school’s football program, giving them an early platform to develop their uncanny on-field understanding.

Just a few short years later and they were both down at the other end of the M1, continuing their development under the tutelage of United youth guru Mike Mulvey whilst finetuning their attacking combination to near-psychic levels in the National Youth League.

After taking the NYL by storm, both are now on full-time professional deals – and with United’s new focus on youth this season, the proposition of Halloran and Harold taking their strike partnership to the next level is very real.

“That was the kind of stuff we’d joke about back in Year 12,” Halloran said.

“I didn’t really think this was going to happen when I was younger.”

“But he knows the play I play and I know the way he plays. He’s got a lot of pace, so with him up front and me on the wing we could do pretty well this year if we get the opportunity.”

“We’re living on the Gold Coast and getting paid to play football together, up front for an A-League club – we couldn’t ask for much more.”

Halloran worked his way into that position by lighting up the NYL over two seasons, scoring 11 goals in 39 appearances at youth level – an impressive return for a winger.

His blistering pace, incisive runs down the flank and his ability to get in behind defences became characteristic of United’s back-to-back NYL championship form.

But assisting his rise to the first team was the fact that youth coach Mulvey – who was in charge of Halloran at the Queensland Academy of Sport – also doubles as an assistant to Miron Bleiberg.

“It makes a big difference. It means that coming into the first team I know what to expect and what they want from me,” Halloran said.

“You want to get signed for what you did in the youth team, not to play a different role.”

“The way I’ve served my apprenticeship with the club has been brilliant. I’ve been able to ease my way into it,” he said.

His Hyundai A-League career is barely underway after five senior appearances, but Halloran has already dined out on Melbourne Victory twice within recent memory.

The first time was his starting debut, at AAMI Park in November last year, with his energy and enthusiasm down the right flank earning rave reviews.

“I went into that game with no expectations and it made it a lot easier,” he said.

“This year’s going to be trickier – players might know what to expect from me a little bit more and there’s a little bit more pressure on to perform week in week out.”

But if his most recent meeting with Victory – United’s 1-0 friendly win at Southport earlier this month, in which he also starred – is any indication, Halloran will be more than comfortable with that pressure.

“We probably went into that as underdogs because we’re such a new look team – we needed a test to see how we’d go against another A-League club and I think we did really well,” he said.