Lewis Italiano says a settled family life and the chance to repay Newcastle Jets’ faith in him was behind his re-signing with the Hunter club.
The 28-year-old goalkeeper committed to a one-year contract extension with the Jets on Thursday, keeping him at the club until the end of the Hyundai A-League 2019/20 Season.
“Ernie [coach Ernie Merrick] and Lawrie [McKinna] gave me a chance at the start of this season and it’s an opportunity I was determined to grab with both hands,” Italiano told the Jets’ official website.
“Working with [goalkeeper coach] Chris [Bowling] and the team has been great for my development and I’m excited to continue that next season.
“My wife and I are expecting our first child in June and we’re really enjoying our time in Newcastle, so securing my future was important for both of us.”
Born in Perth, Italiano got his break in the Hyundai A-League at Wellington Phoenix, making 19 appearances for the Kiwi club over two separate stints.
After a short stint with Stirling Lions in the WA NPL, Italiano was brought to the Jets by Merrick for the start of the current campaign.
He has spent the majority of the season deputising for Glen Moss, making four appearances in 2018/19.
“Lewis possesses some great attributes as a goalkeeper,” Merrick said.
“He’s come a long way since I coached him last [at the Phoenix], maturing as player and bringing consistency to his performance in training and during games.
“I’m really glad to have someone of Lewis’ character around the group for another season, he’s been a great addition to our squad.”
GOLDEN BOOT RACE: Who will finish the Hyundai A-League's top scorer
RUN TO THE FINALS: Glory closing in on maiden Hyundai A-League Premiership
With no games this weekend due to the international break, the Jets are next in action on Saturday, March 30 when they head to Wellington to take on Italiano’s former club.
With a five-point gap between themselves and sixth-placed Adelaide United, it’s a match the Jets must win to keep their Finals Series hopes alive.