The bright spark that is Marko Jesic has been a regular feature in the highlight reels of Marconi Stallions in 2018.
Now in his second spell with the Stallions, the 28-year-old recently added two more additions with a quality pair of assists in Saturday night’s 2-2 draw at Sydney United 58.
The Fairfield-raised youngster grew into football locally within Marconi’s youth system before going on to graduate through the state and national Institutes of Sport and earning callups to the Joeys, Young Socceroos, and Olyroos.
Newcastle Jets were quick to pounce for the highly rated teenager in 2008, where the fleet-footed attacker would spend his next five seasons.
After a stint with Hong Kong Sun Pegasus and a season with Rockdale City Suns, Jesic would then return to where it all began charged with the mission of bringing his boyhood club back to the top flight following their humbling 2015 relegation to NPL 2 NSW Men’s competition.
While promotion was beyond reach in 2016, a second attempt saw the Stallions produce a dominating campaign to finish 18 points clear of their competition, sealing the promotion the former NSL giants so heavily craved.
“I played at Marconi from the 12s to 14s,” reminisced Jesic.
“After that I went to the NSWIS and then the AIS.
“One of the reasons to come back was that it was my boyhood club.
“And I obviously followed them back in the NSL days.
“Seeing where they were, in NPL2, with the history of the club, they didn’t deserve to be there.
“It was a challenge for me to go back there and try and get them up.
“We almost did get promoted in the first year, but in the second year we got there with so many games to spare.
“It was a huge challenge, one that we all wanted to do, to bring the club back up to the top tier where they belong.”
Marconi’s next challenge would be lifting to the heightened intensity of NSW’s elite men’s football competition, where the promoted side have faced continuous hurdles in the form of injuries and suspensions which have undoubtedly hampered their 2018 campaign.
Despite limitations on player availability, Marconi began the season in defiant fashion to keep themselves in the mix, even at the tail end of a winless April.
“We’ve certainly had a lot go against us,” explained Jesic.
“From the first or second week we haven’t even had a full squad ready for first grade, which is one thing to look at.
“Also, in terms of where we are sitting on the table in both first grade (11th) and the Club Championship (12th) is not somewhere we want to be halfway through the season.
“I guess there’s been more negatives than positives but there’s still a lot of games to go and hopefully we can change things around.
“Obviously after being down for two years you don’t want to be going back down, you want to stay up.”
Amidst the competitive nature of the 2018 NPL NSW season, Marconi’s current standing in table is somewhat misleading, with a single victory separating 11th from a finals football place within the top five.
While recent performances have been highly promising, results at the full-time whistle have not matched, leaving Jesic to ponder where Marconi would find themselves had things fallen in their favour.
“It’s very close,” remarked Jesic.
“There are four teams only one point ahead and fifth place is only three away.
“If we’d won against Sydney United 58 and Wollongong we’d be sitting fourth.
“That’s a disappointing thing when you look at the games we’ve lost or drawn, several of which we should have won considering the needless goals that they’ve scored.
“I don’t think our opponents have been doing anything spectacular, it’s more down to our mistakes, but they’re no excuses, just something we have to work on.”
This Saturday Marconi Stadium will play host to Bonnyrigg White Eagles in an important match for both sides.
The White Eagles edged past Marconi in the NPL NSW Men’s standings over the weekend with a shock win over league leaders Sydney Olympic.
The weekend’s results also pushed Marconi to the foot of the Club Championship rankings, with the chance to leapfrog Bonnyrigg significantly raising Saturday’s stakes.
“It’s a grand final,” remarked Jesic.
“It’s how we look at it, it’s a big game.
“They’re one point ahead of us, also in the club championship as well, so it’s a big game for us and the club in general so we have to try and get the full points there.
“The next few games for us are very vital and will determine how we are going to go and finish with this season.”
See if Marconi Stallions can disrupt Bonnyrigg White Eagles’ campaign revival this Saturday night. Kick-off at Marconi Stadium from 7pm. The match will also be broadcast live on the NPL New South Wales Facebook Page.
– By Michael Shoolman