How Ronny Vargas’ injury has improved Dimitri Petratos

Chris Matthews-Darby Roar Rookie

By Chris Matthews-Darby, Chris Matthews-Darby is a Roar Rookie

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    Under Ernie Merrick, Ivan Vujica, Ben Kantarovski, and leading goal-scorer Roy O’Donovan have all impressed for the resurgent Newcastle Jets. However, Dimitri Petratos has been the real stand out.

    In fact, the argument can be made that he’s the league’s form player after six rounds.

    Petratos joined brother Kosta at Newcastle after a six-month stint at Ulsan Hyundai in South Korea, starting the season on the wing, with Venezuelan marquee Ronny Vargas holding down the No.10 spot.

    Vargas went down with a season-ending injury in the Jets’ 2-1 win over Brisbane – a game in which Petratos scored his second goal of the season – seeing the former Roar and Sydney FC man move central, where he has taken his game to another level.

    Before Vargas’ injury, Petratos had:

    • 174 touches
    • 108 passes
    • 26 crosses
    • Eight duels won
    • Five chances created
    • Four shots
    • Three matches
    • Two goals
    • One foul won

    After Vargas’ injury:

    • 187 touches
    • 111 passes
    • 31 crosses
    • 14 chances created
    • 11 duels won
    • Ten shots
    • Three matches
    • Two assists
    • One goal
    • One foul won

    His involvement has stayed consistent, but his contribution has improved since moving to attacking midfielder. He’s made more crosses (his 57 is second in the league, only behind Melbourne Victory’s Leroy George), created almost triple the amount of chances (he leads the league with 19) and has had twice as many shots on goal.

    Sure, the injury to Vargas ended the high hopes Jets faithful had for the South American, but his injury has been a blessing in disguise for Petratos, who has taken control of Newcastle’s attack. He now needs to maintain his form for the season.

    Merrick told media Vargas is recovering from his injury better than expected and could return by late-February or March, which can only spell bad news for opposition teams. But given Petratos’ form, it might take longer than that for Vargas to make his way back into the starting XI.

    Heading into the season, the likes of Milos Ninkovic and Diego Castro would have been tipped to take out the Johnny Warren Medal, but Petratos is shaping as an early contender.

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    The Crowd Says (6)

    • November 14th 2017 @ 3:23am
      Fadida said | November 14th 2017 @ 3:23am | ! Report

      I think even with Vargas he’s upped his game. At Roar he was very much a support act. At the Jets he’s a key man, with greater responsibility

    • November 14th 2017 @ 7:57am
      punter said | November 14th 2017 @ 7:57am | ! Report

      I hope so, he has great skills, just lacks consistency to be a very good player.

    • Roar Guru

      November 14th 2017 @ 8:22am
      Griffo said | November 14th 2017 @ 8:22am | ! Report

      He had to, and at this stage, it should be something he wants to do.

      Like Nabbout to a lesser extent I think Petratos was at a stage where he wanted to take opportunities and responsibilities and give it all he’s worth.

      Seeing him preseason and he was relaxed, joking around with his new team mates, and in general seeming to be at home in the team over a number of seasons, not weeks.

      I think this is a happy team and that can only help a players confidence, which Petratos shows plenty right now.

    • November 14th 2017 @ 8:45am
      Buddy said | November 14th 2017 @ 8:45am | ! Report

      He was playing well before that awful injury and appears to have stepped into the void left by Vargas absence and his style is pleasing to watch. The Jets need to fine tune O’Donovan now as he often appears to be on a slightly different wavelength. If the two of them can hit their straps at the same time they will be a constant menace to all defences.

    • November 14th 2017 @ 9:56am
      Realfootball said | November 14th 2017 @ 9:56am | ! Report

      He’s becoming the player we all hoped he would be – a true number 10. We could see his potential there at Brisbane, but he never quite clicked in the role.

    • November 14th 2017 @ 11:15am
      Lionheart said | November 14th 2017 @ 11:15am | ! Report

      he’s been a favourite of mine for a long time. He’ll not let the Jets down.

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