|By PATRICK SEXTON
Newcastle Jets midfielder Ruben Zadkovich has expressed his delight after signing a two-year contract extension with the club.
The midfielder, who joined the Jets in 2010 after his release from English side Derby County, will also be handed the captaincy until the end of the season after the shock departure of Jobe Wheelhouse last Thursday.
Zadkovich has become a pivotal part of Gary van Egmond's side this season and is excited to be extending his stay with the club.
"This is a great club and I have enjoyed my time here so I am stoked to re-sign for another two years," Zadkovich said.
"The Jets are the whole package for me; I love this town, the fans and the club.
"We are a young team and taking on a leadership role is something I have really enjoyed and want to continue.
"I love turning up to training and playing with this team because all the young guys are willing to buy into what we want to achieve.
"I want to lead by example and for the Jets to have a strong finish to the season."
Newcastle CEO Robbie Middleby claimed the Jets were seeking to ward off strong interest from other A-League clubs, and said he was relieved the 26-year-old chose to re-sign with the 2008 A-League champions.
"Ruben's enthusiasm and dedication to the team and our supporters is an asset to the club," Middleby said.
"We feel fortunate to secure Ruben as there was significant interest from other clubs."
Coach Gary van Egmond was similarly pleased to secure the services of Zadkovich for another two years, describing him as a cornerstone of the side's leadership group.
"Ruben has not only matured into a leader on and off the field but his form this season has been outstanding," van Egmond said.
"He has stepped up this season as a player and is a great mentor to the young players."