WITH a new two-year contract locked away, Kosta Petratos plans to hit the ground running when the Jets assemble for pre-season in November.
Rarely sighted under Ernie Merrick, the 22-year-old striker was given a new lease of life under Carl Robinson and played a key role off the bench in the Jets' strong finish to the campaign.
"I guess the new deal was a reward," Petratos said. "It is nice to have that done."
Rather than take a deserved rest, Petratos has been playing for the Jets youth team in the NSW National Premier League Two competition.
"The gaffer gave me a chance at the end of last season," Petratos said. "I'm doing everything I can to make sure I get more opportunities. He gave me the option to keep playing in the NPL. I'm not there to go through the motions. I need to play games.
"It has been a while since I have been playing 90 minutes regularly. By playing in the NPL, going into the pre-season I should be sharp and have a little edge on everyone else."
Petratos scored a late winner in a 2-1 win over Sydney FC and averaged 15 minutes in four appearances off the bench after the COVID-19 break.
The departure of Abdiel Arroyo, Kane Sheppard, Wes Hoolahan and Petratos' older brother, Dimi, has left vacancies in the front third.
"Carl sees me as a nine, but he knows I can play either side or as a No.10 as well," Kosta said.
"You have work your way up. I have gone from not really playing at all. Fifteen minutes [a game] is more than I was playing before and hopefully it just keeps progressing."
Kosta said his elder sibling had settled in well at Saudi Arabian club Al-Wehda, which is in the holy city, Mecca.
"Makis and I are staying in Dimis' place in Hamilton," Kosta said. "It's good, I have been upgraded to his room. For the first couple of weeks it was really weird, very quiet.
"We call him every day on WhatsApp or Facetime. He has done his first couple of training sessions. and is enjoying it. He was staying in a hotel and has now moved into an apartment. He likes it there.
"They start pre-season in three weeks. Their season only finished eight days ago, but they only have a short break before the Asian Champions League starts."
The Jets youth team play their final game of the season against St George City at Poulton Park on Sunday.
Kosta will be joined by younger brother Makis, who has also signed with the club for another two seasons, and scholarship player Lucas Mauragis.
The Jets are bottom of a congested table but can jump as high as eighth with a win.
"It is a must win for us," Petratos said. "You don't want to finish at the bottom of the table. We have been competitive but have been a bit unlucky. We either don't put the game away or concede sloppy goals."
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