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ALM: Jets veteran Jason Hoffman joins elite 300-game club

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When Jason Hoffman runs onto the field this weekend, in what could possibly be his swansong for the Newcastle Jets, he’ll join an elite club.

The homegrown product will become just the ninth player to chalk up 300 appearances in the A-League Men’s (ALM) competition.

It’s a milestone the popular right back’s extremely proud of.

“Up until probably six weeks ago, I thought maybe it’s not going to happen,” Hoffman said.

“But, when the time was right, the staff decided that I could still make an impact and settle a game.

Newcastle Jets stalwart Jason Hoffman will play his 300th A-League game this wekeend. Photo: Michael Gorton Images

“Now, I’m facing our old foes, Central Coast Mariners, in my 300th match, which is fitting.

“I’m sure it’s something I’ll look back on with pride… not many guys get to achieve that feat.

“However, if I’m being honest, it’s likely to be my last game for the Jets.

“I’m now 35… and off contract at the end of the season.”

After plying his trade with Mayfield United and Hamilton Olympic, a 17-year-old Hoffman made his A-League debut for Newcastle as a substitute on 2 September 2007.

Club legend Jason Hoffman is ready to face the Central Coast Mariners. Photo: Michael Gorton Images

He was part of the team that won their sole Championship in 2008 – a 1-0 victory over Central Coast.

He then broke his 20-match goal drought by scoring twice in the Jets’ 2009/10 opener against the Wellington Phoenix.

Between 2007 and 2010, the stalwart donned the Newcastle jumper on 29 occasions, before playing a further 80 games for Melbourne City from 2010 to 2015.

Hoffman returned to his beloved organisation in 2015 and, since then, racked up a further 191 matches.

He celebrated his 100th A-League game in round 24 of 2017/18.

Along the way, he also represented the Australian under-20s (11 times – 2007-2009) and the under-23s (13 times – 2008-2012).

Will this be Jason Hoffman’s last A-League Men’s match? Photo: Michael Gorton Images

“I’m incredibly proud of the fact that I have been able to represent Newcastle for such a long time,” he said.

“As a kid, all I wanted to do was play for the Jets and I can’t believe that 17 years after getting my first opportunity to run on in an A-League game, I’ll step onto the field again for my 300th A-League match.

“The majority of that time has been spent at Newcastle.

“For me to have the honour of playing my 300th A-League game at home in front of family and friends, and to reach this milestone and play against our great rival is massive.

“I don’t know what my immediate professional career holds.

“That’ll be up to someone else, I guess.

“But, I grew up playing at Mayfield United, then went on to Hamilton Olympic.

“And, I’ve always said that when I did leave professional football, I’d go and give back to that level.

“So, that’s a real possibility.”

Over the past month, the Jets have been one of the ALM’s in-form outfits.

After drawing 0-all with sixth-placed Melbourne City, Newcastle accounted for Sydney FC, in fifth spot, 3-1 and the Brisbane Roar 2-0 before a 1-all scoreline with competition leaders Wellington.

And, even with ownership talk swirling around the club, Hoffman believes the future of the Jets is exceptionally bright.

Jason Hoffman cheers on the Newcastle Jets from the sideline during 2023/24. Photo: Michael Gorton Images

“Newcastle’s an extremely important hub, historically, in the Australian football landscape,” he said.

“That’s why I firmly believe that the right thing will be done by the right people.

“Look at all the young talent we’ve unveiled this season, in both the men’s and women’s squads.

“It’s been a real year of growth for myself and the role I have played with this young team in what has been a real challenging period for the club.

“For me as a local boy and senior player in the changeroom, I couldn’t be prouder to be associated with the culture, environment and resilience we have created and shown.

“I’ve enjoyed helping this bright young squad and I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds because I believe there is a really strong product here in Newcastle.

“I’m confident we’ll see the Jets at the top of the table again very soon.”

Hoffman and his cohorts tackle F3 derby rivals, the Mariners, in the final outing for 2023/24 at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday 27 April from 5.15pm.

And, he can’t wait to upset Central Coast’s applecart.

“If we can disturb the Mariners party and, hopefully, collect some kind of silverware from them, I’m sure it’ll sit well with a lot of Novocastrians,” he said with a big grin.

“I know the whole team will be giving everything to finish the season with a very big three points in front of our fans.”

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