In December 2007 Ben Kantarovski was just your regular high schooler. One month later the 15-year-old signed a professional contract with the Newcastle Jets. This week the Newcastle local represents the club for the 150th time. It’s been a wild ride for the now 25-year-old who turned down Bundesliga heavyweights Bayern Munich and has had more than one injury plagued season. But under Ernie Merrick the central midfielder is churning out his best performances to date and will look to continue his form when the Jets travel to Western Australia to meet Perth Glory this weekend.
The interesting stat about Kantarovski reaching the milestone is the number of seasons it has taken him. This is his 10th season in the A-League, making it the equal longest time to play 150 matches in the league’s history. Of course injuries have played a part in this including a torn meniscus last season, and a serious knee injury in 2013.
He’s not alone however, he only has to look to teammate Jason Hoffman who will hold the record by himself until Kantarovski takes to the field.
One of Kantarovski’s opponents on Saturday, Chris Harold will also make his 150th appearance, as will Brisbane Roar’s Jack Hingert. Fifty-one players have already passed the 150 milestone, some have taken longer than others.
Longest to 150
- Ben Kantarovski – 10 seasons
- Jason Hoffman – 10 seasons
- Tarek Elrich, Archie Thompson, Glen Moss, Nigel Boogaard, Michael Marrone, Scott Neville, and Jack Hingert – 9 seasons
Quickest to 150
- Matt Thompson -6 seasons
- Josh Rose – 6 seasons
- Thomas Broich – 6 seasons
- Besart Berisha – 6 seasons
But let’s celebrate Kantarovski for reaching for the milestone. Alongside Steven Ugarkovic, he has been the heart and soul in Newcastle’s midfield and a vital role in Newcastle’s hot start to the season.
Kantarovski in 2017-18
- Nine matches
- 519 touches
- 312 passes (75.5 per cent accuracy)
- Two goals
- 12 tackles won
- 20 interceptions
- 13 clearances
- Three blocks
The former youth international is already the club’s most capped player, a record he will hold for a long time.
Newcastle’s most capped players
- Ben Kantrovski 149 matches*
- Tarek Elrich 134 matches
- Matt Thompson 121 matches
- Jobe Wheelhouse 106 matches
- Nikolai Topor-Stanley 90 matches*
While Kantarovski isn’t as accomplished or successful as some A-League players he has achieved a couple of things including, at the time, being the youngest player to debut in the A-League
- Eighth youngest debutant in A-League history
- At the time he was the youngest A-League debutant
- 2008-09 Newcastle Jets’ Player of the Season
#ThrowbackThursday A young Ben Kantarovski in his 14th A-League appearance as we clashed with the Glory in season 2009/10. This week, the Broadmeadow Magic junior will make his 150th appearance for the Jets!
Congrats, Ben 👏 pic.twitter.com/MLACAZIcG8
— NEWCASTLE JETS FC ✈️ (@NewcastleJetsFC) 7 December 2017