Once regarded as the hottest prospect to come out of NSW since Harry Kewell, the former Southampton apprentice seemingly had the world at his feet before injuries set in, curtailing his progress.
After leaving the south coast at the age of 16 when on the books of the Wollongong Wolves in the old NSL, he signed a contract with the famous English club on his 17th birthday and was also a mainstay in the Joeys set-up.
?At the time, I thought Christmas had come early, I was learning so much playing with great players day in, day out,? he recalled.
?The facilities were first class and watching how blokes like James Beattie went about their business was unbelievable.
?I was brought in to do a similar job to him, be the targetman up front and throw myself about causing problems for the defenders.
?In the last year of my contract I did my left knee and only played in the last six games and they didn?t renew my contract.
?Naturally I was disappointed but at the time I was young and missed my friends and family back home.
?I returned to Australia with the aim of re-establishing myself but unfortunately injuries have made that practically impossible.?
In 2005, Lucas signed with the Marconi Stallions but has only played a handful of games since. He has had four operations on his right knee.
?It has been a real test of character and at times it has got me down but I just have to keep working hard,? he said.
?I didn?t see the point in coming back early and aggravating myself because my knee wasn?t right. I have seen the same medical team the past four years and when I walk in the door they shake their heads.
?Not once has the doctor told me I can?t play football again. Every time I get the green light to resume training, I get excited – but I know my limits.
?I am 23, I have plenty of time on my side, it?s just a matter of getting a good pre-season under my belt and having a big 2009 in the Telechoice Premier League so clubs come knocking.?
Lucas is off-contract with Marconi next month and did his chances of securing another contract with the Stallions no harm after an encouraging end to the year in a season of few highlights at Fairfield.
After finding the back of the net against Sutherland and Wollongong FC, Lucas is hoping it acts a springboard into next year.
?With the A League expanding the amount of teams in the next few years it?s an exciting time to be in the spotlight.
?Given my recent injuries I am sure a perception is out there that I am a liability which I don?t think is the case. I would love to silence the critics and show people what I can do at the highest level in Australia.
?From there anything can happen but I am not looking that far ahead.
?My focus is an injury free 2009 ? if I can achieve that everything else will take care of itself.?
-By Andrew Prentice