Patafta Can Bloom With Jets
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EXCLUSIVE: Gary van Egmond sees new signing Kaz Patafta as an integral part of building long term success at Newcastle Jets.
The youngster has agreed a one-year deal at EnergyAustralia Stadium but his new coach hopes he will be staying in the Hunter for a lot longer than 12 months.
Having been on the fringe of Ernie Merrick's squad at Melbourne Victory, Patafta has been handed the chance to try to nail a regular slot with Jets and he hasn't been signed to be a 'super sub'.
Many of the former Qantas Joeys' performances for Victory last season came in appearances from the bench but van Egmond is not looking for a repeat of that situation.
He told au.fourfourtwo.com: "I'm delighted that we've convinced Kaz to join us here at the Jets. He's a player I really like and I really feel he can bring something extra to this team.
"You don't go from being one of the top under 17 players in the world to a mug, do you? He is very talented and while he is very effective in a role behind the front two, he is a flexible player and that's great for a coach."
Patafta's arrival on the pitch for Melbourne last year would generally cause a ripple of excitement around the ground, with the expectation that here was a player who was capable of some magic.
Van Egmond said: "There is a buzz when he's on the ball but I don't think it's fair to label him just an 'impact' player. I think he's better than that.
"He's another quality youngster we've added to our squad and I'm very happy that we're assembling a group of players that have many years in the game ahead of them, to learn and hopefully progress.
"We want them all to be part of what we're trying to build here."
However, the Jets coach is warning Patafta that he can't just expect to walk straight into the side.
He said: "It's up to him now. At any club you want competition for places and I'm sure there's other boys in the group who will be just as keen to start the season."