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ALM: Natta confident Jets can blunt City’s attack

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Newcastle Jets defender Mark Natta is confident he and his colleagues can nullify Melbourne City’s attacking weapons at home this weekend.

The Rob Stanton-coached A-League Men’s (ALM) side faces an opposition, which possesses Socceroos stars Matt Leckie and Jamie McLaren, at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday 3 December.

While that prospect might be daunting for some young players, the 21-year-old remains buoyant that he, Phillip Cancar, Dane Ingham and Lucas Mauragis will hold their own.

Newcastle Jets defender Mark Natta will tackle Melbourne City on Sunday. Photo: Rod Thompson

“I think everyone in this competition is good enough to beat anyone on their day,” Natta said.

“Melbourne’s a quality team, especially over the past few years when they’ve been on top.

“But, they’ve struggled a bit in 2023/24.

“We’ll just take this as another match and, if we play our game, we know we’re in with a chance.

“As for myself, I’m trying to become more of a senior leader in the backline and with that comes more responsibilities.

“I am fortunate to have played as many matches as I have at my age.

“Plus, I feel as though I’m in good form – and getting better.

“So, I’m happy to lead and get the boys rolling.

“However, at the end of the day, we’re a team… we must set the standards together.”

Natta said the Jets needed to put the F3 derby loss, 3-1, to the Central Coast Mariners to the back of their minds.

“That first half wasn’t our best football, that’s for sure,” he told the Newcastle Weekly.

“The derby is one of those games you look forward to all year – and the fans travel down for it.

“So, it’s big for Newcastle and our supporters.

“Conceding a goal right before the break could not have come at a worse time.

“Unfortunately, we did that to ourselves.

“If we could’ve gone into half-time 0-all, and reset, the second 45 might have been a different story.

“We tried to rally in that period, we lifted our intensity and created several chances.

“I believe we all know that we’re capable of better things than we’ve shown results-wise this year.

“In fact, we’ve produced some great patches and shown we can play some good football.

“It’s just being able to tidy up the little mistakes that we make.

“But, it’s all part of the learning curve… and the results will come.

“It’s important for the young players not to get too carried away when things go wrong.

“We’re working on that, and getting better at it, day-in, day-out at training and in matches.

“Also, we have the senior players to help us through that.”

Like team-mate Mauragis, Natta gained the nod for the Olyroos’ “friendlies” against Qatar and Saudi Arabia, too.

The pair is determined to be part of the national squad moving forward.

“It’s always a good experience,” he said.

“You’re alongside the best players in the country for your age.

“It is very important to soak up as much as you can from different coaches, team-mates and the other sides.

“So, you bring back what you learn and add it to your game.

“The more experiences you gain, the better you become.

“It’s an honour to be called up for the Olyroos and something, hopefully, that will continue.

“Although it wasn’t my first time in an Australian side, it always feels good to pull on the jumper.

“It certainly motivates you for higher honours like the Socceroos.

“Every kid growing up in Australia dreams of representing their country.

“I’m no different.

“However, for the time being, I need to focus on the club; the rest will take care of itself.

“If I have a good season with the Jets, anything’s possible.”

Newcastle Jets v Melbourne City

(Sunday 3 December, McDonald Jones Stadium)

5pm: ALM

  • Newcastle Jets squad: 1. Ryan Scott, 3. Jason Hoffman, 5. Lucas Mauragis, 6. Brandon O’Neill (c), 7. Trent Buhagiar, 8. Apostolos Stamatelopoulos, 10. Reno Piscopo, 13. Clayton Taylor, 14. Dane Ingham, 15. Jason Berthomier, 17. Kosta Grozo, 18. Daniel Stynes, 20. Michael Weier, 22. Phil Cancar, 23. Daniel Wilmering, 25. Carl Jenkinson, 26. Archie Goodwin, 33. Mark Natta, 37. Lachlan Bayliss, 39. Thomas Aquilina
  • Melbourne City squad: 1. Jamie Young, 2. Scott Galloway, 6. Steven Ugarkovic, 7. Mathew Leckie, 8. Hamza Sakhi, 9. Jamie Maclaren (c), 10. Tolgay Arslan, 11. Leo Natel, 16. Aziz Behich, 17. Terry Antonis, 18. Jordon Hall, 21. Alessandro Lopane, 22. Curtis Good, 25. Callum Talbot, 26. Samuel Souprayen, 33. Patrick Beach, 38. Harry Politidis, 44. Marin Jakolis, 46. Ben Mazzeo, 53. Sebastian Esposito

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