Petrovski experiences finals fever
We catch up with striker Sasho Petrovski after the Jets' final training session before leaving for enemy territory in New Zealand.
The name Sasho Petrovski is synonymous with Finals football in Australia.
The experienced marksman has appeared in every Hyundai A-League Finals Series since the inception of the competition in 2005, winning the inaugural title with Sydney FC and finishing runner up while at Central Coast Mariners in the 07/08 campaign.
Combine that impressive record with two Championship gongs claimed with Wollongong Wolves in the old NSL, and you begin to realise that Petrovski-s experience in and understanding of the do-or-die, sink-or-swim situation that is Finals football could prove pivotal when the underdog Jets take on Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium this Sunday.
Indeed, in a chat with newcastlejets.com.au following training at a wet Newcastle University on Tuesday morning, Petrovski highlighted that the knowledge many Jets players have accumulated by playing Finals football in the past has instilled confidence in the side heading into the upcoming contest in the Kiwi capital.
“There are a lot of players here who like the taste of Finals football and I think that-s what-s in our advantage - that we-ve got the experience in these kinds of situations,” Petrovski said.
“There are five or six players who are still here at the club who played in that winning Grand Final against the Mariners where I was on the losing end.”
“[But] we-ve also got good young players who are busting to play, so it-s just about finding the perfect combination and the right result to get us through.”
Like Newcastle defender Nikolai Topor-Stanley earlier this week, Petrovski spoke of ways the team must work together to ensure they stifle the Phoenix and their fans.
Key to Petrovski-s reckoning on how to come out on top at the sold out 35,000 capacity ‘Cake Tin-, is the team being able to perform at their maximum when the decibel level is high and their voices inaudible.
For Petrovski, it-s about actions speaking louder than words.
“I definitely think Nikolai is right, if we can keep it at nil all as long as we can they might start to get frustrated out there,” he said.
“They-ll be getting a bit edgy, a bit loud and bit fussy, so that could play against them and hopefully that-ll be in our favour.”
“The atmosphere will be so loud, I don-t think we-ll be able to hear each other so we-re going to have to rely on our strengths and knowing what each and every one of us who-s out there playing strengths are.”
“The key will be to be patient, frustrate them from playing their game, and just working on our strengths, playing our game and using the crowd and the atmosphere in our advantage.”
Always one for the big occasion, Petrovski noted it-s not every day even a professional player gets to perform on such a grandiose stage, and that he and the team have every desire to make the most of the situation they have crafted themselves.
“This is something for the big players to rise to the occasion,” he said.
“You dream about playing in these full stadiums packed to capacity.”
“They-ll be pumped just as much as we are and it should be a good game in front of a massive crowd, so we-re looking forward to it.”
The Jets complete their Australian-based preparations today before flying to Wellington tommorow.
Coaching staff will then put the 16 travelling players through their paces at Wellington-s Newtown Park and Westpac Stadium on Friday and Saturday respectively, before the Jets go for glory against the Phoenix on Sunday March 7.
Should the Jets prevail, they-ll then face either Sydney FC or Melbourne Victory in the Preliminary Final the following weekend to reach the Hyundai A-League Grand Final.