Proven Hyundai A-League performers Mateo Poljak and Labinot Haliti have committed the next two years of their playing careers to helping transform the Newcastle Jets into a competitive force both on and off the pitch.
The duo – who both arrive at the Jets having spent the past three seasons with Western Sydney Wanderers – have now finalised their contracts with the club.
As has been accurately reported, the pair completed successful medicals with the Jets on Tuesday.
Poljak – one of the A-League’s most outstanding midfielders over the past three seasons – makes the shift to Newcastle having completed largely successful campaigns with Wanderers.
The Croatian midfielder – who with Haliti won the 2013 A-League Premiership and 2014 AFC Champions League during his time with the red and black – becomes the third foreigner on the club’s books for next campaign.
Indeed, Poljak played a crucial role in helping Tony Popovic’s side earn domestic and continental glory, and Jets boss Scott Miller is sure that the 25-year-old former Dinamo Zagreb youth product will provide leadership and class to his first team squad.
“Mateo will provide composure and leadership in our midfield, and we see it as a major coup for the club that we have been able to attain his services,” Miller said.
Haliti returns to the Hunter for a third spell with Jets having represented the club in the first two A-League campaigns, as well as in seasons five, six, and seven. Indeed, Haliti has made 92 A-League appearances for Newcastle for a return of 15 goals.
“Labinot is a noted A-League performer and someone who offers us flexibility in our attacking systems,” Miller added.
“As with Mateo, Labinot boasts experience in tough European leagues and has shown that he is a winner through his personal and team exploits with Wanderers.”
“With their understanding of the competition we will be looking for Mateo and Labinot to help us set continually high standards on and off the field,” Miller concluded.
Poljak said that he wants to help the Jets become an A-League force.
“I have been talking to players who have been here before and they say that it’s a good region, and that there’s a good base of fans and a lot of support for the Newcastle Jets,” Poljak said. “Those fans deserve that this club gets back on track to where it belongs, and this is the best way to start it.”
“When Scott [Miller] first called me I said to my wife that ‘he was very enthusiastic’. Seeing his history with Fulham, being engaged with the Socceroos and knowing his age and ambition, I knew straight away that this was a good move. I really liked his way of communication.”
“I have decided to accept this challenge for two years and I am definitely looking forward to it,” he said.
Haliti said that he will play with passion and pride for Newcastle, and added that he’s excited to work with Miller and Jets Senior Assistant Coach, Jean-Paul de Marigny again.
“One thing I know that Newcastle people want is a 100 per cent effort,” Haliti said. “I am looking forward to helping the team in any way that I can.”
“The main factor that I am here today is thanks to the boss [Miler] and ‘JP’ [de Marigny]. ‘JP’’ is actually the one who gave me a debut ten years ago in Newcastle, so I have a lot of respect for him and the boss for showing faith in me and bringing me back.”
Poljak and Haliti will commence training with their new Newcastle Jets teammates on Friday.