Newcastle Jets today announced contract extensions for long-serving, home-grown talent Ben Kantarovski AND the club’s Major Community Partner, Greater Bank.
Experienced utility Kantarovski, 24, has signed a one-year contract extension, ensuring he will enter a ninth season as a professional for the club.
Meanwhile, Greater Bank – formerly the Greater Building Society – has penned a two-year contract extension with the Jets, meaning the club’s multi-faceted ‘Jets: Connect’ community program will be able to develop, grow, and positively impact more people across Northern New South Wales until at least 2018.
Newcastle Jets Head Coach Scott Miller said Monday’s confirmation that both a local player and local partner had committed to the club is yet another sign of the confidence in the club’s future.
“Today’s announcements are positive for Newcastle Jets both on and off the field,” Miller said.
“Ben [Kantarovski] is a local product who possesses vast Hyundai A-League experience, and provides positional versatility and thus flexibility to our squad. His re-signing, like Morten Nordstrand’s and Jason Hoffman’s, ensures that we maintain a level of continuity within our squad which we believe can help us next season.”
“Greater Bank has shown an outstanding commitment to the club by extending their partnership with us for another two years. It is a boost to know that the club will continue to work alongside the Greater Bank team to forge stronger connections with the community,” he said.
Kantarovski, who made his professional debut for the Jets against Central Coast Mariners as a 16-year-old in August 2008, has 137 competitive appearances for the club to his credit.
The Broadmeadow Magic junior said that he’s excited to continue his time with the Jets in the Hyundai A-League, and also thanked Greater Bank for their commitment to the club and community.
“For me there is no greater honour than representing my hometown club in the A-League, so I am definitely looking forward to pulling on the shirt again next season,” Kantarovski explained. “There is a positive vibe around the club at the moment and a real sense that we can build something special, and I feel fortunate that I can continue to contribute to that.”
“As a player who grew up in Newcastle it’s also definitely encouraging to see a big Newcastle business such as Greater Bank demonstrating their support for the club via community engagement programs,” he said.
Greater Bank Chief Executive Officer Scott Morgan attended Monday’s duel contract extension announcement at St. James’ Primary School in Kotara South.
There Kantarovski – alongside teammate Mateo Poljak – participated in one of the club’s 30 ‘Jets: Learn’ sessions for the 2015/16 season. The sessions have been won by schools around the region over the past six months.
Morgan said Greater Bank wanted to be on the Jets’ team for another two years because having a strong football club is important for the community.
He said that under the ‘Jets: Connect’ partnership with Greater Bank, Jets’ players and staff have collectively spent hundreds of hours in the community. They have conducted 30 school visits, held four free community clinics, and made many other visits to charitable events, hospitals and Greater Bank branches. A senior squad tour of the New England and mid North Coast enabled the Jets to build its connection beyond the Hunter. The Jets’ Community Round raised awareness and funds for the local work done by Cerebral Palsy Alliance. “This school visit is what the community partnership is all about – inspiring kids and parents to take an interest in football as well as be fit and active,” Morgan said.
“The Jets and Greater Bank share a bond of being Hunter-based organisations with a role to serve the community and make it stronger,
“As a customer owned bank, Greater Bank exists for its customers and the local community.
“I acknowledge the help of the other Jets business partners and encourage others to continue to get behind our local club,” he said.