Thursday, April 30, 2015

Jets striker Pavicevic emerges through gloomy season

Pavicevic on the way to his first goal in the Hyundai A-League against the Brisbane Roar.
The Newcastle Jets 14/15 season could be described as crazy if the club wasn’t owned by the enigma that is Nathan Tinker. In the space of seven months, the Jets managed to sack five players at once, have more mid-season transfers than any other A-League club, border on a Football Australia takeover and last week they officially ran last with a total of 3 wins from 27 games.
Tinkler’s baffling turnaround from wanting to shelve the club to taking a hands on role as an operating Chairman is another story, but if he is serious about turning the club’s fortunes around next season, he’ll quite possible be relying on some home grown talent, and nineteen-year-old Radovan Pavicevic is just that. Well, almost. Surely three years in the club’s junior system is enough time to be called a Novocastrian?

Pavicevic emerged late in the season from three years in the Youth League team to earn his debut with the A-League squad on Saturday January 24th, 2015. He would complete six starts from the bench before earning his on-field debut in round 21 against Melbourne City.

He went on to play ten games for the season averaging 25 minutes per game. In his second game he scored against Brisbane Roar after coming on 55 minutes into the game.
While many players could be concerned and wary of how the team will be positioned heading into the off-season, Radovan is confident in where the club is going.

“We all want to win, all want to work hard. As a team we want to get the three points every weekend. I know we’ll get it together,” he said.
The energetic striker grew up in Liverpool (NSW) and has traversed an interesting path as a young sportsman. Attending Westfield High Sports School until moving to Newcastle, he played for the Blacktown Spartans Football Club, before having three years with Marconi. The move from junior football to the National Youth League was one that made him realise he had to step up his game if he was going to succeed.

“It was a massive step up from playing Under 18’s with Marconi. I found it tough; I had to work very hard on my game.

“James Pascoe got me into the school [Hunter Sports High] for year 12. My family helped me settle, coaches and staff as well. On top of that you have to learn to live by yourself, you have to do your own washing, and you’ve got to grow up,” said Pavicevic.

The humble and quietly spoken gent has his mind in the right place, neglecting the usual antics of youths his age and focussing on what lays ahead. “I don’t go out that much; I’ve got mates in Sydney that go out almost every weekend. I’m up here for my football, you’ve got to stay focused and that’s just one of them things you’ve got to sacrifice to get where you want.”
After being handed a two-year contract by the Jets this seasons, he will be looking to earn a habitual position in the first team, and is not looking too far ahead.

“I’m moving in the right direction, I’ve just got to keep doing what I’m doing.
“There’s players there you can learn from, and as a young player that’s what I’m there for, is to look to learn off the older boys.”

“I just want to keep developing at the moment, but for next season I’m definitely looking to cement my spot and become a regular first team player,” he said.

Radovan will play some games in the NPL this winter, before enjoying a break in preparation for the 2015/16 A-League season. The NPL competition was where he had a heavy collision with a field fence last July that saw him have six months out of game. A broken arm that caused swelling around nerves controlling the movement and feeling in his wrist left him unable to return to field until earlier this year.
It was a tough and enduring recovery, made harder by the success the NPL side had by winning the competition. “There’s nothing worse than watching all the boys run around if you’re sitting down injured,” remarked Pavicevic.
“It was a just real slow process. I knew from the start what to expect, taking it one day at a time. It did get frustrating at times, but that’s where my family and all the boys came in to help me get through it.”

Rad showing the aftermath of the broken arm that put him on the sidelines for most of 2014.
The family has played a big role in Radovan’s rise and he is thankful for their ongoing support. Their support that can be summarised by the eight hour car trip to Melbourne they made to watch his on-field debut. “My biggest influence has to be my family. They always put me on the right path, told me to work hard and keep my head down.”

Radovan should have no shortage of inspiration to succeed in his career having spent the early years of his life travelling Europe while his dad competed in Motor Racing.

“Dad was in Formula 3000, which at the time was a step below Formula One.
"It was the best time of my life, being a little kid always around cars, what more do you want. It was good fun. We lived in the U.K, in Nottingham and in Italy, near Venice,” enthused Pavicevic.

Asked whether having seen parts of Europe makes him want to pursue a football career overseas, the reserved Pavicevic expresses his desire but remains focussed on the here and now.
“In the future Europe’s definitely a goal of mine; that’s where the best football is played, that’s where everyone wants to be.
“For now I want to make myself a name at the Jets. Become a regular first team player and develop myself as much as I can,” he detailed.
Despite never having made a junior NSW team, Radovan was able to clinch the Player of the Year award for the Youth League team in 2013/14, a season that saw him score 10 goals in 25 games and would be the form that earned the faith of the club to sign him to a professional contract.
Citing his running and positional play as the biggest elements of his game, Radovan uses those at the very top of the sport to improve his own development.
“I watch a lot of overseas players; you’ve got your Ronaldo’s and Messi’s. You have to study them; you take bits and pieces out of everyone’s game and develop yourself. You watch where they make their runs, watch what they do off the ball, how they make space for themselves. You learn off them, they’re the best in the world for a reason," he said.
Scoring the majority of his goals from inside the box, the striker or winger will be looking to emulate some of the best and step it up again for the A-League’s 11th season come September. Whilst this season for the Jets wasn’t a successful one, the future looks bright with hard-working and focussed young talents like Radovan Pavicevic in the side. 

All the best, Rad.