How Ronny Vargas’ injury has improved Dimitri Petratos

Chris Matthews-Darby Roar Rookie

By , 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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