Dimitri Petratos was the bright spot in a largely disappointing 2010/11 season for Sydney FC, bursting onto the Hyundai A-League scene with a number of eye-catching performances.
He was the bright spot in a largely disappointing 2010/11 season for Sydney FC, bursting onto the Hyundai A-League scene with a number of eye-catching performances.
While most associated with the Sky Blues are happy to consign the last campaign to the dust bin, Dimitri Petratos can look back with fond memories.
The 18-year-old was content to make himself a permanent fixture with the club's National Youth League squad heading into last season, and maybe force his way into first team calculations later in the campaign.
But a mixture of injuries, the Hyundai A-League side's poor results as well as his own exceptional form made it impossible for coach Vitezslav Lavicka to keep him out of the top grade.
The Australian under-19 international finished with 16 appearances in the Hyundai A-League, scoring three times and capped off the year by signing off on a new two-year deal.
"It was unbelievable for me," Petratos said of his debut year ahead of the club's season opener against the Melbourne Victory on Saturday night.
"I wasn't expecting to play as many games as I did."
"I was really happy with last season but that's done now."
"I want to follow on with that and try and do even better this season as well."
Petratos is well aware reproducing that type of impact in season two can be a tough ask.
It's why he's worked extra hard during the long and at times torturous pre-season to get himself in perfect shape.
After working off a couple of extra kilos from 'enjoying mum's cooking' during the break, Petratos says he couldn't be any better prepared heading into the new season.
"Personally I'm feeling very fit at the moment ... I'm back to the weight I want to be and I'm ready to go from there," he said.
"We just have to keep working hard now."
"The side is ready for Round 1. We've got two players fighting for every position so it's going to be hard for the coach to pick the side."
After spending most of his debut season playing wide on the right hand side of midfield, Petratos could find himself battling for a starting position with one Brett Emerton.
"He (Emerton) can play in a few different positions and so can I so it's not too bad," he said.
"It's just so great having an experienced player around. Someone who's done everything in the game and played everywhere."
"I've always watched him on telly and now to have him here and to play with him is amazing."
"He's a humble guy and talks to everyone ... he's been a great help."
While the teenager is understandably full of admiration for the Qantas Socceroos midfielder, it seems Emerton has been equally impressed with what he's seen of Petratos and fellow Sydney young gun Terry Antonis.
"They (Petratos and Antonis) are fantastic talents and I've been very impressed with them over the last week or so," Emerton said.
"I've got no doubt if they continue to go in the direction they're going they'll be a big part of our national team set up in the future."