Steven Ugarkovic is well known as a workhorse in the Newcastle Jets midfield but he took that to extreme levels in the club’s epic FFA Cup 2019 Round of 32 win over Melbourne Victory last week.
The Jets produced a comeback for the ages as they fought back from 2-0 down with less than 20 minutes left to leave AAMI Park with a 3-2 win after extra-time.
And Ugarkovic’s tireless display in the middle of the park was a major catalyst for the turnaround.
The 24-year-old pushed his body to the limits for Ernie Merrick’s side, racking up almost 17 kilometres covered for the match.
When you break it down it means the Baulkham Hills-born baller ran an average of more than 130 metres in every minute of the match.
“I was pretty sore over the weekend and had to make sure I was doing the right things to get my body right,” Ugarkovic said on Monday.
“I always pride myself on doing the dirty work, things that people don’t see that’s just the way I am. I do that hard stuff and I’m proud of it because I know I do it well.
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“One thing I want to do this season is become more of a leader. I think I took that step last season a bit, on the field and off the field as well.
“I want to move on to that and work on that side of my personality [as a player].”
Ugarkovic will get another chance to do just that when the Jets take on Northern NSW NPL heavyweights Edgeworth Eagles in the FFA Cup 2019 Round of 16 next week.
Just the start for new-look Roar: Aldred
As first impressions go, Brisbane Roar’s FFA Cup 2019 Round of 32 win over Hyundai A-League champions Sydney FC is quite the statement.
Roar advanced to the Round of 16 in the competition for the first time since 2014 as goals from Stefan Mauk and Jay O’Shea secured victory in coach Robbie Fowler’s first competitive game in charge.
The hulking defender, who was one of nine Roar debutants last week, said the 2-0 win over the Sky Blues has confirmed to the squad they are on the right path heading towards the 2019/20 Season.
But while they have established a solid base, the 28-year-old is adamant it’s just the beginning.
“It’s a brand new team, brand new coaching staff as well but from the five or six weeks we’ve been here we probably all know the principles and the way we want to play," Aldred told Roar’s official website.
“It will take time to perfect that but after our first game we’ve started and now we feel that going forward we’ve got a firm base to build on.”
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“I think on Wednesday night we set a marker in terms of what we are as a team but now it’s a case of kicking on.”
Roar are at home for the Round of 16 clash against Central Coast Mariners, playing at Dolphin Stadium on Wednesday, August 28.