Newcastle Jets have rewarded unsung hero Steven Ugarkovic with an upgraded and extended contract, which will see him remain at the club until the end of the 2020/21 A-League season.
Ugarkovic has struck up a handy partnership with Ben Kantarovski at the base of midfield, which will continue to develop now he’s on board for the next three seasons.
Newcastle Jets boss, Ernie Merrick is confident the sometimes overlooked Ugarkovic can build on the progress of recent campaigns.
“Steve has been an integral part of our team and I’m delighted to have him in Newcastle for the next few seasons,” Merrick said.
“He was so consistent for us throughout last season, and it was good to see how the team’s success was able to bring the best out of him.
“He’s growing and improving every day and is a really positive influence on some of our younger players with his commitment on the training pitch and overall professionalism."
The Croatian U-19 representative joined Newcastle at the beginning of the Hyundai A-League 2015/16 season – making 11 appearances in his debut campaign.
His first goal came in that season during a monumental win – away to Central Coast Mariners – the Club’s first F3 Derby win on the Coast in more than eight years.
In the past two seasons, Ugarkovic has gone from strength-to-strength and established himself as an incredibly important part of the Newcastle Jets side.
He was one of only two players to feature in all 29 of the Jets Hyundai A-League matches last season – leading the charts with a total of 1,233 passes.
Merrick added: “This is well-deserved for a guy whose work can go unnoticed at times, and securing his future will allow him to concentrate on playing his best football.”
Ugarkovic was pleased to have secured his future in Newcastle.
“This is a place I’ve made home, and it’s fantastic to know that I’ll be here until at least the end of the 2020/21 season,” he said.
“I feel like my football is getting better with each season, especially under Ernie with the attacking brand of football he likes us to play.
“It’s a great place to be a part of, the Club has never been more settled and we’ve got a strong group of players that I’m proud to take the field with every week.”