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The Big Interview with York City Knights' Jason Demetriou
From Super League to the Championship is a route Jason Demetriou is relishing with York City Knights as he relates to STEVE CARROLL.
JASON Demetriou is living proof that the phrase ‘if at first you don’t succeed’ isn’t just an empty proverb.
York City Knights stuck to their task, weren’t put off by rejection, and finally got their man when the Super League star signed in a massive coup for the Championship club last week.
Demetriou’s capture brings to an end a two-month chase from the Huntington Stadium outfit and it was the club’s professional set-up which has convinced the 34-year-old Aussie ace to start the next phase of his career with York.
It’s a career which brought success at Widnes, six years at Wakefield and the club captaincy, player of the season gongs in 2006 and 2007, a place in the Super League Dream Team in 2007 as well as a nomination for the Man of Steel Award.
He was also awarded a three-month testimonial by the Rugby Football League in recognition of his decade of service to the English game.
So when Wakefield revealed they wouldn’t be offering him a new contract, did Demetriou balk at the prospect of having to step away from the game’s elite tier?
“Not at all,” he stressed. “I came from the Championship (referring to his early days with Rochdale Hornets and Lancashire Lynx). I am fortunate enough to have had an excellent Super League career. That doesn’t mean I am any better than anyone else.
“I am happy with the career I have had and I am looking forward to working with some young guys and improving their careers. That was a big reason to come to York.
“They have really enthusiastic young players. They come in at six in the morning to the gym and that shows their dedication. They are hungry to play and I have got to train hard and play well.
“There is no point performing, and talking, in the changing room if I am not performing on the field.”
Demetriou could have taken his pick of clubs.
Hunslet and Widnes both made him firm offers, while big-guns Featherstone and Dewsbury were also linked with a move. But he opted for the Knights and it was the opportunity to take on a new challenge which also proved pivotal.
“I look at a lot of aspects when I make a decision to go,” he explained. “There are a few different reasons. With Widnes, it was the travelling. There is no one from Yorkshire that plays in their team.
“I would have been travelling on my own and there is the cost that comes with that and the expenses. Plus, I have played for them before. I have a lot of good memories. That was one thing that was pulling me in that direction.
“The other side was that I had a good time at Widnes, I really enjoyed it and I won a Grand Final there, but going back it could have gone the other way.
“I wanted to go somewhere new and fresh. I am really excited about the challenge at York and I need that challenge.”
But he makes no secret of his desire to break into coaching.
An important factor in his decision to join the Knights was the opportunity to take on more responsibility as a senior player, while also possibly helping out with the reserves and the new under-18s side.
“Again that’s something that attracted me to Dave Woods,” Demetriou said.
“He likes having senior players involved and it’s a role I will enjoy.
“I have done Level 2 and Level 3 (coaching qualifications) and it is definitely something I want to pursue in the future.
“It’s fortunate I can keep playing while I am learning my coaching skills.”
Demetriou will be playing in the back row, a position where he scored more than 40 tries for Wakefield, but despite his Super League experience he is also not arrogant enough to believe he will walk straight into the side.
What’s more, he feels if the Knights’ young players can grasp the nettle and continue to learn from the experience of players like himself and player-coach Chris Thorman, the team will confound the sceptics who have placed the relegation tag firmly round their necks.
He said: “It will be in the back row where I will be playing. We have spoken about it and, of course, it can change and depends how the team is playing.
“I am focused on getting a spot in the team. It’s a young team and I will have that experience in the middle.
“I think the big thing when I have played Championship football before is that it is the mental more than anything else.
“You can get as strong as anyone but if you are not mentally ready to perform, you won’t.
“If we (senior players) can give confidence to the young guys to express themselves we are going to have a good season.”
Meet new Oz ace
NEW star signing Jason Demetriou will be on hand to meet fans when York City Knights hold their annual players sponsors night tomorrow night in Bar 13 at Huntington Stadium.
Supporters are invited to join the players, staff and sponsors for the event where they will have the chance to find out the players’ squad numbers and who is in line for the captaincy.
The bar will be open from 7pm and the players will arrive around 8pm.
The club shop will also be open with a range of new merchandise available. The club expect to have all sizes of replica shirts available other than 3XL, 4XL and 5XL, which are due early next week.