Byrnes returns home

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The former Australian Youth skipper, who made his debut for the Tigers in last weekend?s 7-0 romp over Penrith Nepean United, first caught the eye during the Young Socceroos fairytale run to the final against Brazil at the Under 17 World Championships in 1999 across the Tasman.
He has since gone onto enjoy a decorated career in Australia and abroad despite only being 26.
After recently returning from trials in England, Byrnes weighed up his options and friendships formed with two current Tigers convinced him to sign with A.P.IA.
?I went over and trialed with Luton Town and did fairly well,? he said.
?The manager was on the verge of signing me but then the club went into administration, so those plans went out the window.
?I was in talks with Sydney Olympic but knew Franco Parisi and Matt Nash and had a bit to do with (head coach) John Romeo when I was playing in Italy a few years ago.
?All I want to do is get some games under my belt – at the end of the season I will re-assess what I want to do.?
After growing up in Concord, Byrnes played Youth League with the Tigers as well as Olympic before being snapped up by the NSWIS as a teenager.
He was then signed by Parramatta Power before being tabled a dream transfer to then National Soccer League glamour club, Perth Glory.
After two fruitful years in the west Byrnes headed overseas and enjoyed successful stints in Italy and Austria.
The lure of the A-League was a dangling carrot he could not ignore and he was unveiled as one of Melbourne Victory?s key singings in 2005.
Injuries and suspensions curtailed his development and despite being a member of the all conquering Victory squad in the competition?s second season he was made surplus to requirements by Ernie Merrick.
?It was one of those things, I was playing in a very good team and once you are on the outer it?s very difficult to get back in the mix,? he said.
?I would be lying if I said I wouldn?t like another chance to show what I can do at that level but it isn?t my sole focus.
?If I can play consistent with A.P.I.A who knows what will happen, they are a great bunch of lads and I am confident we can figure in the Telechoice Premier League when it matters.?
By Andrew Hurrell