Wednesday, December 06, 2006


The Extra Mile - update

Long-time readers of this blog may dimly remember me applauding the Central Coast Mariners for acquiring the services of Mile Jedinak, whom I always considered the real driving force behind Sydney United’s remarkable run in the state league finals series, pace Luka Glavas.

Andre Gumprecht’s injury, and Noel Spencer’s indifferent form, have meant that Jedinak has finally been presented with the chance to show his wares in the A-League. And the 22-year-old has grasped it with both hands.

In his first game, the derby against Newcastle in Round 12, Jedinak seemed to be suffering from stage fright. Overly keen to “make an impression”, he lunged into a number of poor challenges, and noticeably failed to cope with the trickery of Nick Carle, who has been in such incisive form of late.

However, towards the end of the game he appeared to settle somewhat.

By the time of his first home game, against Adelaide last week, he had warmed to his task; however, a tendency to strive constantly for the killer through-ball saw him give away possession rather needlessly at times.

Against Sydney on Sunday, things finally clicked for Jedinak, and he was the most impressive player on the park.

Many commentators have noted that Sydney were simply unable to make use of the dribbling and vision of Steve Corica, which had served them so well against both Adelaide and Queensland. The reason? Corica was being shackled most effectively by Jedinak.

Yet the big youngster still managed to contribute in an attacking sense, this time displaying far more patience in the search for a defence-splitting pass. On one occasion, Jedinak did manage to put Nik Mrdja through on goal, only for the Mariners striker to be thwarted by a fine tackle by another former Sydney United man – Mark Rudan.

Towards the end of the match, Andre Gumprecht and Tom Pondeljak, both returning from injury, had simply run out of steam, and Sydney FC grabbed the initiative. It was chiefly Jedinak who prevented the side in blue from completely over-running the midfield.

Above all, his judgement of the aerial ball is hard to fault.

Jedinak’s profile page on the Mariners website contains an amusing gaffe concerning his early years:

One of the premier Australian junior midfield talents of the early nineties

No, Mile wasn’t a star at seven. But he has been around a bit, having spent some time in the Croatian league after his initial spell at Edensor Park in the last days of the NSL. In the opinion of some long-time Sydney United fans, his European sojourn has given him a toughness and resilience that belies his age.

Let’s hope he can keep improving.

I concur. When I first saw him live v.s. Adelaide my first thought was "needs to calm down", but when he settled in the second half he started looking very impressive - making Aloisi and Veart look greaters suckers than they are in the midfield.

Lawrie has been raving about him since pre-season, one would expect him to win a contract for next year... Possibly in place of Boogard?
Hey bigmouth, what are you trying to do, start a bidding war. Hands off!
Seriously, we have a dilemma in the fact Mile is only on a short term contract covering for Mat Osman - which runs out this week. You obviously know more than me about the intricacies of these things, but can we sign him now for next year?
You can sign him now for next year - get him locked in now so to speak... All that matters is at the end of the day next year the Mariners still are not over the maximum number of players or over the cap.

With squad numbers going up next year (seemingly to 23) I'm sure that Lawrie will be sitting down with Jedinak over the coming weeks and nailing something down.
Looks a far better prospect than Milligan in defensive midfield.
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