HE has set the A-League alight in a break-out season for the Newcastle Jets, now Dimi Petratos will get the chance to shine on the international stage.
Petratos and former Jet now Urawa Red Diamond Andrew Nabbout are in line for Socceroos debuts after making the 26-man cut for friendlies against Norway and Colombia later this month.
The internationals, being held in Oslo on Saturday, March 24, and in London on Wednesday, March 28, are the first games under new coach Bert van Marwijk.
Essentially, both players are only one strong performance from booking a place on the plane for the World Cup in Russia in June.
Petratos will play for the Jets against Wellington before jetting out to London for a camp ahead of the games. He will miss the Jets’ road trip to Adelaide on March 24 and be back in time for the home match with Melbourne City.
A national representative at under-17, 20 and 23 level, Petratos’ form and versatility was enough to earn a chance at the next stage.
The 25-year-old can play anywhere across the front four, has scored nine goals to go with 10 assists and his 197 balls into the box is the most in the A-League.
Selection continues a stunning week for Nabbout, who arrived at his new club in Japan on Tuesday.
Like Petratos, his form in the A-League has been irresistible. His 10 goals included two contenders for goal-of-the year and he also provided nine assists.
Nabbout appears to have beaten Jamie Maclaren, who was a surprise omission.
The 24-year-old was in the preliminary squad and produced a stellar performance in the Edinburgh derby last week, scoring an impressive goal against Hearts and denied another by the crossbar.
Other uncapped players are Danny Vukovic, who now appears to be the Socceroos No.2, and the out-and-out wildcard in the squad, defender Aleksandar Susnjar, plucked from Czech Republic club Mlada Boleslav.
Tim Cahill’s late flurry of cameo appearances off the bench proved enough for the 38-year-old to be included.
His forehead guided Australia to a World Cup – having scored twice in the crucial play-off against Syria – however those are the only times the evergreen forward has found the back of the net all season.
"I am looking forward to the chance to get together with the players and work with them for the first time and to get to know them," van Marwijk said. "Our matches against Norway and Colombia will be important but the focus, commitment and application of all the players, coaches and staff from day one until the moment we leave London will be crucial. We need to ensure that we use the time that we have together wisely so that we advance our preparations for Russia."
Goalkeepers: Mat Ryan, Danny Vukovic, Brad Jones.
Defenders: Aziz Behich, Milos Degenek, Matt Jurman, James Meredith, Josh Risdon, Trent Sainsbury, Aleksandar Susnjar, Bailey Wright.
Midfielders: Josh Brillante, Jackson Irvine, Mile Jedinak, Matthew Leckie, Massimo Luongo, Mark Milligan, Aaron Mooy, Dimitri Petratos, Tom Rogic, Nikita Rukavytsya, James Troisi.
Forwards: Tim Cahill, Tomi Juric, Robbie Kruse, Andrew Nabbout.