Newcastle midfielder Ben Kantarovski is looking forward to putting a disappointing Australian Under 23s campaign behind him by helping the Jets to a Hyundai A-League finals berth.
Newcastle midfielder Ben Kantarovski is looking forward to putting a disappointing Australian Under 23s campaign behind him by helping the Jets to a Hyundai A-League finals berth, starting with their clash against Melbourne Victory on Saturday.
Kantarovski described the Olyroos Olympic qualifying games as 'disastrous' after they failed to score a single goal in the campaign in Abu Dhabi. But the 20-year-old was able to put it all behind him when he rushed home to play for the Jets in their crucial Hyundai A-League win last Friday's against Adelaide.
"I really wasn't sure whether I was going to have enough energy to be able to play. It was touch and go for a while," Kantarovski told Sportal of his decision to play despite suffering jet lag.
"It all depended upon how long I played for the Olyroos in Abu Dhabi on the Wednesday night and how I pulled up after the game. After the game I was alright and I cramped up a bit on the plane and I got back about seven o'clock in the morning and I had a good rest."
"It was all fine in the first half as I think I got a second wind but when I sat down at half-time it really hit me and I wasn't sure if I could come back out in the second half, I couldn't even hold my head up."
"I couldn't even sleep that night as I was overtired from the jet lag so I just lay in bed looking at the ceiling. I had to watch a movie. I am pretty much back to a normal pattern now."
Kantarovski said the fact that he rushed straight back to the Jets after the Olyroos campaign went some way to lessening the disappointment of the ill-fated campaign.
"It was very disappointing that we didn't make it and knowing that we are not going to play in the Olympics. It was disastrous really." Kantarovski said.
"But come out the other side I didn't have much time to sit there and ponder about it as I was on the plane back home to play with the Jets and get straight back into it."
"We just couldn't score, plain and simple. We played great footy and ground out a couple of 0-0 draws but we just couldn't find the back of the net and weren't creative enough in the final third."
Now that the Olympic qualifying campaign is behind him Kantarovski said he was fully focused on helping the Jets finish in the top six.
"It is good to be back and not to have to worry about other commitments like that and just put a good foot forward for the Jets and concentrate on getting some good results," he said.
"With the fixtures we have we can keep winning at home and doing well on the road and get a good spot in the top six and maybe the top four. We have a really good chance especially if we keep playing the way we have been playing."
"The Victory will be a tough game for us, but the all the remaining games will be, and being an away game will also make it difficult but we have shown we can do it against Brisbane away so it is just a matter of doing what we did in last week's game and doing it against Melbourne."
"It will be a matter of us sticking to our game plan and if we can get a goal early it will make them uncomfortable and disrupt their plan, so it is just a matter of us going out there and doing what we know we can do."