It’s been a whirlwind year for the Mariners’ midfield muscle.
Winning a Hyundai A-League Premiership in his first full season with the Central Coast Mariners, taking home the season three Mariners Medal and earning several call ups to the Socceroos- 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification quest, this former Sydney United midfielder is one of the most promising young talents the Hyundai A-League has to offer.
Cleary proud to call the Central Coast home and proud of his and the Mariners- achievements to date, Jedinak is confident that the yellow and navy are in with a shot to lift the Hyundai A-League Championship trophy this season – the only piece of Hyundai A-League silverware missing from the Mariners- trophy cabinet.
Jedinak caught up with www.ccmariners.com.au in between travels interstate and abroad to discuss the Mariners- title ambitions.
Five goals for the Mariners so far this season and a few call ups for the Socceroos, you must be enjoying your football at the moment?
I have been very happy with the way things are going – particularly after the set-back with injury at the beginning of the season, I couldn-t really ask for anything more from my football, it has been great this year.
You-ve been involved pretty consistently with the Socceroos- FIFA World Cup qualification quest, what has that experience been like?
It has been fantastic, once you have been in that sort of environment you just want more of that kind of football. Everyone is really sharp, hungry and out to impress and I was the same, just looking for a spot on the team like everyone else. A few bench appearances have been great and now I am looking forward to playing consistent football for the Mariners and hopefully get noticed from that.
What was it like training with some of the big names like Tim Cahill, Harry Kewell and Lucas Neill, who each have their fair share of international experience already?
Each of those boys have helped me out a lot – everyone at the national team is great both on and off the field and whenever they can lend a hand they are willing to, they always let you know if you could be doing something better or in a particular way – they will let you know straight up which I think is fantastic. I thought it was great to just listen and soak up as much as I could because obviously they have the experience playing at a high level. Craig Moore is another guy I learnt quite a bit from, he is certainly one of the guys I look up to.
Is your focus now to bring those experiences back and adapt them to your game with the Mariners?
For sure, but in addition to bringing the experiences and skills back, I think it is really important to use the intensity I build up from these camps and hopefully, in some respects, it will rub off on the boys who want selection into the Socceroos in the future.
You-re getting some big wraps in the media and from fans who love your form from set-pieces at the moment, what-s the secret?
There-s no secret, I just judge it on the day of the game as to whether I take the kicks or not, if I am confident, I-ll put my hand up but if I am not confident for whatever reason I won-t. I just think it-s lucky they have gone in and I have hit them quite well, but you take it as they come – set-pieces are really great opportunities to score and if you can score from them, it makes a real difference at the end of the season – but no there is no secret, you just pick your spot, focus on the ball and concentrate on how you are going to hit it.
This is will be your second full season with the Mariners, what has been your favourite memory so far?
I would definitely have to say being part of the Premiership winning team last season, It was great for me, being my first full season and it-s a great bunch of guys to win it with here at the Mariners. It was just an amazing experience – we had our ups and downs, we made the Grand Final and unfortunately didn-t win, but overall it was a great experience and hopefully we can only get bigger and better in the future.
Do you think you are starting to get a bit more respect from teams that you come up against – in that they are not underestimating the team, but genuinely see the Mariners as a threat when they come up against you?
I think that other teams certainly have to look hard at their game when they come up against us and it-s a credit to our team that we have been able to create that fear. Other teams know they are not going to have it easy with us, ask any coach in the Hyundai A-League, when they play the Mariners they know they are not going to have an easy game.
Is this a good thing do you think, or would you rather be underestimated?
I think it-s a great thing that teams are going to be wary of you and I think it is something we can capitalise on too – if teams are going to be going to a game worried about playing you that is a big advantage, and I think if that-s the case than we can certainly win more games.
So what about personal ambitions – what are your long term goals now?
I-d like to go overseas at some stage, I tried it before for a year and a half and it didn-t quite work out. Having said that I think you certainly have to be ready to do it so you can actually further your career when you get over there, but right now I am fully focussed on doing my job with the Mariners.
The Mariners have had a steady start to the Hyundai A-League 2008/09 season, what do you think will be the key to going that step further this year?
We have had a good start and because of that everyone is really confident, we have won just about every contest in terms of dominating teams and another major factor is we are starting to be a lot more consistent. In the past our guys have had their really good days and then the really bad days, but competition for spots is fierce and all the guys are stepping up to the plate and this shows in our performances. I think if the boys continue to work hard at training and we stay consistent we will get the points on the board – the key is definitely consistency. Everyone has got to give 110% every week, even if we know we are not having a good game, as long as we can do the basic things right then we will be competitive every game and then of course we would be in with a shot. The competition is too tight to take any team for granted and anyone can beat any team on any given day so we have to be on our game, every single game.