VIDEO footage of a Dimi Petratos thunderbolt at Jets training on Monday attracted more than 3000 views on social media.
A similar post of a Dimi “special” earlier in the season also went viral.
But the Jets attaker is not just grabbing the attention of the fans.
Such has been Petratos’ influence – he has scored nine goals, provided 10 assists and a league-high 61 shots assists – opposition coaches have designed their defence around halting the Jets No.7.
In the 2-0 loss to Perth, Petratos had one shot on target and three shot assists.
“Dimi has such a good reputation now, he is often double teamed,” Jets coach Ernie Merrick said.
“They pounce on him quickly to make sure he doesn’t have time or space on the ball. He is getting caught with his back to the goals.”
The departure to Japan last month of Andrew Nabbout has increased the pressure on Petratos to produce.
Merrick admitted this week that the 25-year-old “needs a bit more help”.
“He is still such a very good player for us,” Merrick said. “I just think he is getting better and better. But, at the moment, it is very tough on him because the opposition won’t give him space to work in.”
Petratos has started the past two games since returning from Socceroos duty on the right side to accommodate the return from injury of Ronny Vargas.
But with the Venezuelan sidelined due to a groin problem, Petratos reverts back to a central role for the final-round F3 derby in Gosford on Saturday.
He has scored a goal in each of the two previous encounters against the Mariners and after the Jets were held scoreless in the past two games, Merrick is banking on the front four finding form.
“The more goals we score the better,” Merrick said.
“I’d just love to see us getting back into those goal-scoring positions. That is the thing we have been talking about.
“Roy O’Donovan is making terrific runs but he is not getting the service. We need to have three players doing that up front and one providing the service, whether it is the right sided attacker, the left sided or the central number ten.”
Argentinian Pato Rodriguez appears the most likely to come into the attack.
After an eye-catching start at the Jets, the former AEK Athens flyer has contributed one goal and two assists.
“Especially with overseas players, a pre-season is crucial to understand the nature of A-League football,” Merrick said. “The physicality of it, the work rate expected and the fact that you really have to have an industrious team where 11 players work hard. He missed out on that and has been adjusting ever since.”
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