Antonee Burke puts books on hold for trip south

Young Newcastle midfielder Antonee Burke at Jets training at Ray Watt Oval on Friday. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
Young Newcastle midfielder Antonee Burke at Jets training at Ray Watt Oval on Friday. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

ANTONEE Burke had planned to ramp up preparations for his Higher School Certificate this week.

Instead, the Lambton High year 12 student will join the Jets for a six-day camp in Melbourne and an education on life in the A-League.

Burke and youth teammate Braedyn Crowley have been added to the senior roster for the trip south which includes games against Melbourne City and Bentleigh Green.

“It’s very exciting and a big step up,’’ Burke said.

“I’ll get a bit more experience, build some more confidence with the older boys and learn a bit more of what they can teach me.”

A graduate of the Emerging Jets, Burke impressed new Newcastle coach Scott Miller with his performances for the youth team in the Northern NSW National Premier League.

‘‘He is a good little player,’’ Miller said of the midfielder.

‘‘I have watched him three times now. He has displayed a passing threat moving forward.

‘‘Irrespective of his size, if he has the mentality to compete and is clean in possession, that is a priority for us. He has plenty of potential –  nice technical ability – and it is good to have another young player travel with the squad.’’

Crowley, who came off the bench against Perth in the FFA Cup, Michael Kantarovski, Reece Papas and Andrew Pawiak joined the senior squad for the tour of Northern NSW last month. 

Former Wellington Phoenix attacker Alex Smith will not travel to Melbourne but could yet be added to the roster.

‘‘I like the attributes he brings to the squad,’’ Miller said. ‘‘He has certainly improved the group’s quality and is great to have around.’’

Smith’s contract hopes will hinge on how much money the Jets have in the salary cap after they sign two foreigners.

‘‘We are in discussions now in regards to the final positions  ... We are getting close,’’ Miller said.