Season Previews- Newcastle Jets

 

Last season: 7th

The Jets are one team who is truly flying under the radar this pre-season. They aren’t talking it up, signing big name marquees –although with Nathan Tinkler they could afford it-, they are just simply getting on with their business. For mine they could be a finals team if things break their way, but without Culina it just got tougher.

New Kit: ISC

Newcastle haven’t officially released their new kit as of yet but the above picture from the Fox Sports player photos was posted onto a forum. To the best of my knowledge this blue and red kit will be their home kit, replacing the Gold from previous years, probably to go back to the former Newcastle NSL colours.

Coach: Branko Culina

Branko has always been an underrated coach for mine, and what he has done with the Jets since the mess Van Egmond left them in has been quiet impressive. Although some of his decisions can be a bit strange at times- like playing strikers at right mid, or even right back in young Brodie Mooy’s case.

Captain: Jobe Wheelhouse

I have to think that Culina would have been the captain if he didn’t get injured, but the fact that Jobe is the captain is great news for the rest of the league, because it means a sub-par player will be starting every week.

Possible starting 11

Full squad: 1) Ben Kennedy, 2) Taylor Regan, 3) Mario Simic, 4) Nikolai Topor- Stanley, 5) Tiago, 6) Ben Kantarovski, 7) Kasey Wehrman, 8 ) Jeremy Brockie, 10) Ruben Zadkovich, Tarek Elrich, 12) Jobe Wheelhouse, 13) Byun Sung- Hwan, 14) Labinot Haliti, 15) Chris Payne, 16) Sam Gallaway, 17) James Virgili, 18 ) Marko Jesic, 19) Matthew Nash, 20) Jason Culina, 22) Ali Abbas, 23) Ryan Griffiths.

*Foreigners in italics.

Transfers In:

Mario Simic (Newcastle Jets Youth), Tiago (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Byun Sung Hwan (Sydney FC), Chris Payne (North Queensland Fury), Sam Gallaway (Newcastle Jets Youth), James Virgili (Newcastle Jets Youth), Jason Culina (Gold Coast United).

Jason Culina would have been their biggest signing, but since he is out for the season with that knee injury, the likes of Tiago, Byun and Chris Payne will be the biggest additions to the squad.

 

Transfers Out:

Adam D’Apuzzo (Released), Michael Bridges (Retired), Zhang Shou (Shenzhen Phoenix), Sasho Petrovski (South Coast Wolves), Sean Rooney (Released), Marcello Fiorentini (Released), Neil Young (Perth Glory), Brodie Mooy (Released), Kaz Patafta (Manly United).

Not a lot of quality in that lot really, but Bridges will be missed by the Jets, his quality upfront. D’Apuzzo is a serviceable squad option due to his versatility, but the rest are really quiet ordinary. Also, I find it slightly humorous that former ‘golden kid’ Kaz Patafta is now out of the  professional football circle. So much for him being our ‘next big thing’.

Key In: Tiago

I would have said Jason Culina, but since he won’t be playing at all this season, I will look elsewhere, and to the Brazilian defender. His partnership with Topor-Stanley should be interesting to watch, and it could be one of the best partnerships in the league.

 

Key Out: Michael Bridges

As I said above, just about all the losses are squad players of no real significance, but Bridges loss will be felt by the Jets as he was their most proven centre forward and their best route to goal. A lot of pressure on Payne, Jesic and Griffiths to produce now.

 

One to Watch: Chris Payne

The kid was a standout last season for the underperforming Fury, now with a  better  squad of players around him, he should be able to shine and fulfil that potential that he has.

 

Strengths: Width and versatility.

The Jets have defiantly stacked up on the wide positions this season, giving them one of the best corps’ of wide players in the league. Elrich, Zadkovich, Brockie, Simic, Virgili, Jesic, Griffiths, Byun and Abbas can all play in the wide areas giving Culina plenty of options. Add in players like Kantarovski who can play at CM/DM/CM and there’s any number of ways this team can line up.

 

Weaknesses: Inexperience.

While it is a good squad by A-League standards, it’s also a very young squad with not a lot of experience at the top level of the game. Regan, Gallaway, Virgili, Jesic, Simic and Payne all u/23 years of age, and their captain Wheelhouse is only 26 too.

 

Stadium: Ausgrid Stadium

While it’s a decent stadium with a nice leagues club nearby, my worst memory in Roar football happened at the ground back in season 3, and that bus trip back with the Orange Army was the longest 8 hours ever.

Preseason form: Played  10- Won 9, Drawn 1, Lost 0

Looks to be a good preseason from the Jets, consistent results vs the local sides, good results agaisnt A-League teams and plenty of cleans sheets.

Newcastle Jets 3-0 Hamilton Olympic

Newcastle Jets 7-1 Weston Bears

Southerland Sharks 1-2 Newcastle Jets

Bonnyrigg White Eagles 0-3 Newcastle Jets

Bankstown 0-9 Newcastle Jets

Broardmeadow Magic 0-3 Newcastle Jets

Newcastle Jets 1-0 Melbourne Heart

South Coast Wolves 0-0 Newcastle Jets

Rockdale 0-3 Newcastle Jets

Newcastle Jets 3-0 NNSW Select X

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