Hibs have completed their first piece of deadline-day business by securing a loan deal for Sunderland centre-back Nectar Triantis.

The 20-year-old is well known to Nick Montgomery, having played under the Easter Road boss at Central Coast Mariners during their A-League winning campaign in 2022/23. Triantis moved to Sunderland last summer on a four-year deal and has been viewed as one for the future.

Hibs have been on the hunt for central defensive reinforcements, with Montgomery also keen to add Bournemouth's Owen Bevan before the window closes. Hibs had enquired about Triantis earlier in the window but were under the impression the Australia Under-23 stopper was likely to remain at the Stadium of Light due to a lack of defensive cover. But the Black Cats' capture of Leo Fuhr Hjelde earlier this week, and the expected arrival of Callum Styles from Barnsley rekindled the link and a deal was completed on Thursday afternoon. 

Here, the Hibs Observer takes an in-depth look at Triantis.


Born in Sydney, Triantis’ career kickstarted with signing, as is known in Australia, a scholarship contract with Western Sydney Wanderers in July 2021. He made just one senior appearance the following February and departed in the summer.

Montgomery snapped the defender up on a three-year deal in July 2022, and he quickly became a regular for the Mariners from October onwards, making 25 appearances in all competitions and stepping up when Kye Rowles left to join Hearts. He started the 6-1 A-League Final rout of Melbourne City, a historic day for the club, and the result that ultimately propelled both Triantis and Montgomery on a path to Europe.

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He reportedly attracted interest from England and the Bundesliga, but it was Sunderland – then under ex-Hibs manager Tony Mowbray – who signed Triantis for around £300,000, with sporting director Kristjaan Speakman citing his ‘rapid’ progress in Australia as a key factor in catching their eye. He profiled Triantis as a ball-playing yet robust defender and earmarked him as one for the future.

“Nectar has progressed rapidly over the last 12 months - at both club and international level - and we are delighted that he selected Sunderland as his next step,” said Speakman. “On the pitch, and in possession, we feel he’s well aligned to our playing identity, whilst also possessing the balance of being a robust defender, which is vital in our league. We’ll be patient as he adjusts to new surroundings and adapts to a new style of play in a higher league, but we are confident that he’s got the personality to progress and develop his game.”

At 6ft 3, Triantis is a towering presence and will add height to a Hibs defence which has struggled to deal with set-pieces and crosses into the box. The key factor will be in how quickly the player adjusts to the physical rigours of the Scottish Premiership, having mainly featured for Sunderland’s U-23s since crossing continents last summer.

What type of player is he?

Triantis looks like the archetypal ‘big man at the back’ but he has more to his game than simply being a physical specimen. Montgomery’s system places considerable onus on centre-backs to be comfortable taking the ball and playing out under pressure, and the fact he worked with Triantis before indicates he feels the player can deal with those demands. Montgomery has been short on central defensive options, with Will Fish accruing more minutes than any other Hibs player this season despite still being just 20.

Rocky Bushiri was his partner for much of the opening half of the campaign, and despite improvements in possession, he has not been a natural fit for the football the manager wants to play. Triantis has a good range of passing and can take the ball under pressure while still being able to play out.

He was given a real baptism of fire at the Stadium of Light back in October, finding out minutes before kick-off that he would be required to step in for a first start – alongside fellow rookie Jenson Seelt – after a late injury withdrawal from Dennis Cirkin. Triantis turned in a creditable display in difficult circumstances, with Sunderland emerging 3-1 winners.

He almost claimed a first goal, piling in at the back post to force a Birmingham own goal. Triantis showed flashes of what he can bring to Hibs, with decent passing and composure under the opponents’ press. In the example below, he finds himself in a tight spot near the corner, but instead of shelling the ball upfield, finds an excellent first-time pass on his weaker left foot into a team-mate’s feet.

In the second example, Triantis initially takes a loose first touch but quickly recovers to sidestep the onrushing attacker before drilling a pass which takes three Birmingham players out of the game.

Although deployed at left centre-back for his first Sunderland start, Triantis’ range of passing comes to the fore on the other side. Below, he’s able to pick a cross-field pass that puts Sunderland on the attack with impressive accuracy. This was a feature of his game at Mariners, and could be an effective weapon for Hibs with their pace on the flanks.

As an out-and-out defender, Triantis is still learning his trade. His first Sunderland start perhaps unsurprisingly featured the odd shaky moment as he adjusted to the step up between A-League and Championship. He was culpable for Birmingham’s only goal of the game, initially reading the striker’s run, only to keep his team under pressure with a weak interception.

In the second phase, Triantis’ positioning is off, and that allows Birmingham’s Koji Miyoshi space to drift into the box and score with a first-time finish. Such moments are to be expected from a young defender, especially after being unexpectedly dropped into a high-pressure situation.

But Sunderland were impressed enough with his defensive attributes to take a punt on him, and his powers of recovery were key for Montgomery’s expansive Mariners side. In the example below, they find themselves stretched as a through-ball in behind puts Richard van der Venne one-on-one with the goalkeeper in the aforementioned A-League final. His finish is poor, but Triantis still makes up considerable ground to cover and stop the forward’s goalbound effort, a key moment in the game as Mariners went on to blow Melbourne away.

The example below shows pace combined with a touch of maturity. Central Coast are hit on the break late against Perth Glory, and it falls to Triantis as the last man to halt a likely goal. He makes up ground to close down the onrushing attacker and, crucially, slows down at the last second and that allows him to intercept against the odds.

It’s clear Hibs are signing a player with promise, but one who is still some way off being the finished article. Triantis’ speed of adaptation will be key to making this loan a success, as the jump from under-23 level to the Scottish Premiership has often proved a real culture shock for young players down the years.

READ MORE: Ex-Hibs duo reveal what transfer window is really like for players

But he is a player who certainly has a strong mix of attributes and is one who Montgomery trusts. Their time together in Australia appeared to spark Triantis’ career rise, and there is sufficient optimism that they can once again prove to be good for each other.