If there was one Newcastle Jets player who relished the weekend’s victory over Western United more than his cohorts, it was Ryan Scott.
For the second time in 2023/24, the Hunter-based organisation prevailed over the Sydneysiders, via 1-0 and 2-0 triumphs.
The latter occurred at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday 30 December, the team’s maiden win at home.
And, for good measure, Scott played a major role in that result.
The keeper, who made 21 appearances for Western over four years, proved a thorn in the side of his former colleagues.
He not only pulled off several outstanding saves in the second half but registered another clean sheet.
“There was a bit of personal satisfaction,” Scott said.
“We played United earlier in the campaign, and won 1-0, so that probably meant more to me.
“However, this was our first victory in Newcastle… it was pretty special.
“That period, with Western, is a different chapter in my career.
“I’m with the Jets now, I’m happy here, although it’s always bittersweet to win matches like that.
“Overall, it was a good performance.
“We’ve definitely left a few points out there at home this year.
“So, it was terrific to break the duck this season, get the victory and, hopefully, it was something the local fans could enjoy.”
For Scott, the clean sheet was his third, from 10 matches, in 2023/24.
What made that feat even more impressive was the fact the Jets were down a man, following the dismissal of stand-in skipper Apostolos Stamatelopoulos.
“If I can do that (clean sheet), you’re halfway to getting the win,” he said.
“But, I felt at the weekend, the red card actually helped us a little bit.
“It was a big moment in the game, sort of early in the second half.
“We had a real focus coming out after the break and not wanting to concede straight away.
“Unfortunately, we did that against Melbourne City and they really took the wind out of us.
“It was important to come out and, in the first five minutes, stay solid.
“We just rolled the sleeves up, similar to our efforts at Wellington and when we played Western in Ballarat… we know we can do it.
“It’s crucial for us not to concede early in games, then you get that belief as you go on.
“However, it’s a good foundation to have at the club.
“We’ve got to make sure our defence is on every week and the strikers will take care of the rest.
“When we score early, that’s when we’re at our best.”
Scott admitted the loss of Stamatelopoulos was a blow heading into the showdown with the Macarthur Bulls at Campbelltown Sports Stadium on Friday 5 January.
“I’m disappointed for Stamma,” he told the Newcastle Weekly.
“He was very disappointed, probably frustrated as well.
“I thought he was a little bit unlucky the other day, maybe he gets away with one of them [fouls].
“But, I guess, they’re the laws of the game.
“You’ve got to abide by that.
“Stamma’s been great for us this year… his life is settled off the field and I believe it’s showing on the paddock with the success he’s had.
“However, his absence presents an opportunity for someone else to come in and show what they’ve got.
“Archie Goodwin’s ready to start, Trent Buhagiar’s found some form again.
“So, we’ve still got strike power.
“That’s the beauty of having a competitive squad… one member goes out and another comes in, then it’s up to the individual to take the chance.
“It’s a long season, anyone can get called upon at any point.
“It is up to the players, who aren’t playing, to continue to work hard and be ready to take their opportunity when it arises.”
Macarthur, in fifth spot, poses a huge threat to Newcastle.
But, Scott’s confident the Jets can claim another scalp.
“They started off well, probably by having a few more competitive games leading into the season,” he said.
“Even though they’ve lost the past couple.
“However, in this league, there are always teams that go on little consecutive runs of wins and losses.
“Look at Adelaide the other week.
“They’d lost three in a row but came out hungry and were too good for us.
“It’ll be no different for Macarthur this weekend.
“We’ll need to be switched on from the start.
“We’ve just got to train hard again this week, with an eye on Friday night.
“It was our third win of the season, so I guess after every victory, it’s about backing it up and stringing a few together to get closer to the top six.
“We’ve got three sessions to prepare the best we can… and get ready for a big one.”
As for Newcastle, Rob Stanton’s boys occupy 10th position on the table, just three points behind Macarthur.
“To me, the ladder doesn’t lie,” Scott confessed.
“We could be a bit higher or a bit lower.
“As long as we’re learning from the games that we aren’t capitalising on and using that to pick up more wins towards the back half of the year.
“I think we are probably where we deserve to be.
“But, top six remains the goal obviously.
“Rob seems pretty happy so far.
“He mentioned to everyone in the squad, from the players to the staff, that it takes a team effort every week to all pull together to get the result.
“Eleven guys start the match but there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes.
“So, Rob was pleased to win that first match at home.
“However, he wants us to back it up and keep improving.”
The encounter kicks off at 7.45pm.
For more sports stories:
- REAL NRL: Innovation the key in 2024, says Devcich
- ALW: Jets soar to celebrate end of 2023 in style
- ALM: Jets break home drought and end 2023 with 2-0 win
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