Newcastle Jets lure Celeski back to the A-league

Midfielder Billy Celeski is making a surprise return to the A-League after signing a one-year deal with the Newcastle Jets.

The Hunter outfit signed the former Melbourne Victory star for the 2014-15 season after he impressed new coach Phil Stubbins with his versatility.

The 29-year-old last played for Liaoning Whowin in the Chinese Super League but spent more than five seasons with the Victory.

Last year he was selected for the A-League All Stars in their match against English powerhouse Manchester United.

Celeski said he was lured back home by the direction Stubbins was taking the Jets.

“I spoke to Phil before making the decision and I’m really excited about what’s happening in Newcastle and what he wants to do with the players at the club, so I just wanted to be a part of it basically,” Celeski said.

“I’m confident it can be a successful season for us at Newcastle with some of the other signings we’ve made and I’m really looking forward to joining the boys at training and getting started.”

Stubbins said the A-league veteran would provide plenty of midfield smarts for the team that is looking to bounce back after a series of disappointing seasons.

“I think Billy is a great acquisition for the club and he’s someone who is very versatile in what he brings to the table,” Stubbins said.

“He gives us added strength in midfield and with his football intelligence he can also play in a number of different positions.

“Billy brings a quality to us that will be very valuable throughout the season and we’re excited to have a player with his experience on board.”

An Australian Institute of Sport graduate, Celeski started his career with Perth Glory, where he played 32 matches and scored four goals.

He went on to make 91 appearances for Victory, scoring two goals, and was influential in the club’s 2008-09 title-winning campaign before being sidelined for a year with an ACL injury.

In 2013/14 season Celeski signed with Al Shaab CSC in the United Arab Emirates then moved to China.

He represented Australia at U-20 and U-23 level and earned a senior Socceroos cap in 2009 in an AFC Asian Cup qualifying match against Indonesia.