Dimi Petratos focused on Newcastle Jets after World Cup ride

DIMI Petratos says he learned from his World Cup experience and is focused, at least for now, on helping the Newcastle Jets back up their stellar A-League campaign in 2018-19.

FRIENDLY FIRE: Jets Dimi Petratos and Steve Ugarkovic with Mariners keeper Ben Kennedy at Maitland Sportsground. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

FRIENDLY FIRE: Jets Dimi Petratos and Steve Ugarkovic with Mariners keeper Ben Kennedy at Maitland Sportsground. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

The 25-year-old returned to full Jets training on Monday following a three-week break after his World Cup campaign with Australia in Russia, where he did not feature in the Socceroos’ three games.

Petratos earned a call-up to the national side with a breakout first season with Newcastle in which he swept the club’s awards and finished second in the league’s best and fairest count.

The attacking midfielder’s meteoric rise to the World Cup squad prompted speculation he might not return to the Jets, where he has a year to run on his contract.

However, Petratos said he was looking forward to leaving with the Jets on Tuesday on their tour of Spain and playing in the August 25 trial against Central Coast at Maitland Sportsground which was announced Monday.

Asked if he had interest from overseas clubs while in Russia, Petratos joked: “I can’t tell you.”

“No. I don’t know,” he said. 

“I’ve just left that with the agent and I just like to focus and if something does come in the future and it’s a good opportunity for me, I’ll speak with [coach] Ernie [Merrick] and [CEO] Lawrie [McKinna] and that’s the future.

“When it comes, I’m sure we can organise something. But my focus is at Newcastle. I’ve got a year left, and that’s where my focus is.”

Petratos said he felt good following his time off and “I can’t complain” after a “great experience”  at the World Cup.

“I think I learnt a lot from it, even though I didn’t get game time,” he said. “Just being there amongst the best players in the world, just seeing them and being in the atmosphere, the training sessions that we did with the team, I think it was very good.

“I just always want to better myself and whatever I learn, just try and bring it in and help the team.

“We were doing double sessions, the intensity was very high and just the fact it was the build up to the World Cup, so it was just a little bit different to your everyday training sessions with the clubs.

“Different players, different coach, and the way he wanted the boys to play and you’ve just got to adapt to that and do the best you can.

“For me, going to a World Cup, I didn’t get game time, but I know how to deal with that for the next time and I’ve just got to keep working hard and eventually, hopefully, I can get some game time in the future.”

He said there was excitement and motivation at the Jets to build on their fairytale run from wooden spooners to second place and grand finalists last season.

“We’ve made it to the final, we had a good season compared to the others we’ve had,” he said.

“I think the boys have the drive to continue to do that. It’s not just a one-off year that we did so well, so the boys have the drive to keep going and back it up this season.”

The Jets will play La Liga club Getafe and two second-division teams in Spain.

“I think it will be a very good trip,” Petratos said.

“It’s good to do something different, travel a bit. Hopefully it’s another preparation for the AFC. We can use that to prepare for that, if we make that, and just build on the pre-season and go from there.”