Ridenton signs with Jets

Former Saint Kentigern College footballer Matthew Ridenton is leaving the Phoenix after signing a two-year contract with last season’s grand final runner-up Newcastle Jets in Australia.

The 22-year-old midfielder, whose parents live in Cockle Bay, has played in the All Whites shirt like his father Michael, a former football coach at St Kents.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to move overseas to Australia and join the Newcastle Jets after the great season they had and I think it will help me develop as a player,” Ridenton told the Times.

“I really enjoyed my five ears at the Wellington Phoenix and made a lot of friends while I was there and wish them all the best for the future,” he said.

“My goals for the upcoming season are to work hard to earn my place at the Newcastle Jets and hopefully establish myself in the All Whites by having strong season at club level.”

Ridenton will renew his association with Jets coach Ernie Merrick, under whom he made his A-League debut in the 2013-14 season, the Newcastle Herald said.

Ridenton played 72 games for Wellington, including 26 of their 27 games this season. Two of his four career goals have been scored against Newcastle.

“Matthew is an excellent player, and having worked with him during my time at the Phoenix I know the sort of potential he possesses as a player,” Merrick told the Newcastle Herald.

“He’s also a great person and character, I have no doubt he’ll fit into the club and the community really well.

“Matt will offer plenty for us in the middle of the park, provides great depth for our squad and I look forward to seeing the contribution he can make over the next two seasons.”

Ridenton joins the Jets for the start of pre-season training in June.