SYDNEY FC discard Chris Triantis will be given his chance to "sink or swim" for the Jets tomorrow against Wellington Phoenix.
In an amazing turnaround for the 21-year-old, the Jets yesterday signed him to a six-week injury replacement for Jobe Wheelhouse and he is expected to be rushed into the centre of midfield to partner marquee signing Fabio Vignaroli tomorrow.
Triantis has spent the winter playing in the NSW Premier League with Sydney Olympic after former Sky Blues coach John Kosmina told him he was unwanted, even though he skippered Sydney to the inaugural youth league title.
But one man's trash is another man's treasure in the eyes of Jets coach Branko Culina.
"I've followed him for the last 18 months and he took my eye then, but I just didn't think he was quite ready," Culina said.
"So when the opportunity arose with injuries to Wheelhouse and Ontong, we thought, 'Well, let's have a look at a replacement player.'
"He was available, and he's match fit, so that's the reason we went with him.
"He's a very talented young man and comes highly recommended."
Triantis arrived at Jets training only on Tuesday, but Culina had no hesitation rushing him into the side.
"Time will tell," he said.
"Sometimes you test players and put them in at the deep end to see if they've got what it takes.
"Some sink, some swim let's hope he'll swim."
Tomorrow's game will be Triantis's A-League debut.
Coupled with only five days of preparation, it will be an immense test for the Homebush boy.
But Triantis said he was ready.
"It's all happened very quickly," Triantis said.
"I just came up on Monday night, started Tuesday, and before you know it another player got injured and I'm in, so I'm very lucky.
"I've been doing a lot of extra training on my own before I came up I feel fine, I'm raring to go.
"It'll be a lot faster than I'm used to, but I've just got to go out there and do my best.
"I trained with Sydney's [first] team nearly every week, so I think I'm well prepared."
Triantis, who was unwanted by both Sydney and the Central Coast Mariners, will find motivation in proving to the sceptics that he is of A-League standard.
"You're always disappointed, but things happen, I guess, in football, and the opportunity here arose, so I'm happy about that," he said.
Triantis will have the experience of Vignaroli by his side.
The Italian signed a one-year deal as the marquee player on Thursday and will also make his A-League debut in a new-look Jets midfield.
Vignaroli is underdone after a hamstring injury.
Protracted contract negotiations have also affected Vignaroli's preparations for the game, but Culina is confident the Italian's class will carry him a long way.
"He is lacking fitness. There is no doubt about that," Culina said.
"He has played less than 90 minutes in the pre-season, but he works hard at keeping himself fit, and we are hopeful that he will last at least 60 minutes.
"Again we can't expect too much too soon because he has had a very interrupted pre-season.
"His best days are definitely ahead of him. But he is a quality player and he will do his bit on Sunday."