Vanuatu-born midfielder Mitch Cooper scored a spectacular hat trick against Melbourne City u21s to take his tally to 21 for the season.
The former A-League star, 22, has scored almost half of Nunawading City’s goals in the third tier of Australian football after a stunning season.
He opened the scoring with a low shot past the keeper before making it 2-1 with a superb control and finish. His third was a powerful header from a corner.
Cooper, who was born in Vanuatu and lived in Port Vila until the age of eight, is tearing up the league after leaving A League side Newcastle Jets in January.
Clearly too good for the division, Cooper is likely to move on to bigger things as he looks for a path back in to professional football.
Cooper has appeared for Australia’s national team at u17 and u20 level but has never played for the Socceroos. Eligible to play for England and Vanuatu, he may still change allegiance.
Cooper’s family still lives in Vanuatu and he has close ties with the country. Previously he told The Herald in Australia: “‘‘Growing up I always wanted to play for Vanuatu. It has always been in my heart. I was born and bred there, it’s in my blood.”
After a cyclone his Vanuatu he was vocal in his support of his mother’s attempts to secure aid for her country and last year he visited Vanuatu to hand over a trophy to club side Tafea.