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ALM GALLERY: Jets eye off opportunity to leapfrog rivals on ladder

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The Newcastle Jets have an excellent opportunity to leapfrog Adelaide United on the ladder when the two sides meet this weekend.

After escaping with a thrilling 2-all draw against Perth Glory at home, the Hunter A-League Men’s (ALM) outfit travels to South Australia for its latest showdown on Friday 22 December.

Following eight rounds of action in 2023/24, Newcastle is positioned in eighth spot, on nine points, just behind Adelaide in seventh place.

Lucas Mauragis has been one of the shining lights for the Newcastle Jets. Photo: Michael Gorton Images

And, Jets coach Rob Stanton would love to see a continuation of his team’s unbeaten run of the past fortnight.

“I think the players were disappointed we didn’t win [at McDonald Jones Stadium],” he said.

“But, we’re fighting hard every match… that’s pleasing.

“I believe we’ve been really good away from home; we just want a victory in Newcastle in front of our fans.

“To be honest, I’m happy with that performance [against Perth], except for 10 minutes.

“It was a similar thing with Melbourne City a few weeks earlier, especially 60-70% of it.

“Then, when he faced the Wellington Phoenix, I was super happy with that.

“Unfortunately, the [competition] points don’t match the boys’ effort and attitude.

“However, I’m confident we’ll get there.”

Phillip Cancar in action for the Newcastle Jets against Perth Glory. Photo: Michael Gorton Images

Newcastle appeared in the box seat to prevail over Perth, leading 1-0 at the break.

But, the Glory struck twice in quick fashion to hit the front 2-1.

A goal to Trent Buhagiar in the 98th minute allowed the hosts to share the spoils.

“They’re a dangerous period, half-time,” Stanton told the Newcastle Weekly.

“Teams can switch off or switch on.

“That five minutes on either side of a break, it’s very common to get caught.

“Last week we scored after three, then we scored again three minutes from the end.

“So, it just goes to show that it’s built into the players’ body clock.

“If they’re not ready to start straight away, you fall behind.

“Then at 45 minutes, your body naturally knows it’s coming to a break… and people switch off.

“It’s uncanny how often it happens.

“I believe it’s ingrained in you, so you must train yourself to not switch off.

“That’s where leadership and things on the pitch, such as communication, come into it and remind the players it ain’t done yet.

“We knew Perth was going to come out firing in the second period.

“So, half-time was detrimental to us… they capitalised on it and pounced.

“However, that’s also part of the learning curve.

“I need to take responsibility for it and teach them.

“Because when they get to the point, they’ll need to own it.

“But, at this moment in time, I have to own it and I will.

“I’m very happy with them.

“I am seeing evidence they’re going to own it at some stage, too.

“And, when they do, I’ll be very excited.

Stanton admitted he was quite “proud” of the players because he’s seeing “character and resilience” on a weekly basis.

“Even though we didn’t get three points at the weekend, we saw progression,” he said.

“However, using words like dominant and controlled doesn’t mean you deserve to win the game.

“You have to actually make it happen.

“I think the difference – from playing Perth in round one to now – was that we’ve grown.

“We were able to dominate the match for periods.

“But, unfortunately, we didn’t capitalise on it.

“So, that’s the next step we have to do… and we have to obviously learn to consistently eliminate little errors from our game.

“It’s all positive, from my perspective.”

The match kicks off at 7.45pm at Coopers Stadium.

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