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ALM: No more excuses for Jets moving forward


A tough fortnight, which could define the Newcastle Jets’ season, kick-starts this weekend at McDonald Jones Stadium.

Currently sitting in 11th spot on the A-League Men’s ladder (ALM), the Rob Stanton-coached outfit cannot afford any more slip-ups in its quest to secure a top six berth, with the side seven points in arrears of the Western Sydney Wanderers in sixth.

But, with vital showdowns against the Macarthur Bulls (fourth) on Sunday 25 February and Central Coast Mariners (second) on Saturday 2 March, both at home, Newcastle must gain maximum points to fulfil its play-offs ambitions.

It’s a situation not lost on Stanton ahead of the Members Appreciation Round, especially following a shock 2-0 loss to the cellar-dwellers Western United.

“You always want to play well in front of your fans – and this weekend is no different,” he said.

“Every game at home should be special.

“It’s an opportunity to engage with the supporters and make that connection.

“When we win, I can see them leaving the ground really happy, which is great.

“And, if you put in a strong performance, they go home thinking that’s what we want to see from the group.

“That’s important because if you’re off your game, or don’t play well, it’s a downer.

“You have to make sure you are up for it every week to keep everyone happy and positive.

“Against Western United, I thought we looked a little bit fatigued when we started and not so fresh.

“So, we’ve adjusted our training, we changed our lead-in a bit different to freshen the players up.

“I know we lost but, upon reviewing the match, we created lots and lots of chances and enjoyed plenty of possession in good areas, especially in the second half.

“So, there’s still many positives there.

“I think our slow start, or just having that little edge off our game, made the difference unfortunately.

“However, I’m still quite happy with some of the things we did… don’t forget we created about 20 shots without capitalising.

“That was pretty good.”

Despite the side’s result in its last outing, the Jets have pushed ALM heavyweights Wellington Phoenix, Melbourne Victory and Western Sydney Wanderers all the way this season.

And, Stanton wants to see that Newcastle run onto the field on Sunday.

“Macarthur, and then the Central Coast in the derby, will be another good test,” he told the Newcastle Weekly.

“The Bulls are an excellent team.

“I believe they’ve been the surprise packets in the league this year, one of the most improved in ALM.

“When you watch them play, they’ve got really good individuals.

“But, they’re playing well as a unit.

“Macarthur boasts dangerous players in the front third, with some good youngsters and some experience at the back.

“They’re well-balanced.

“When we met them last time, it was a tough game.

“However, I thought we did really well.

“Once again, there are no easy matches in the A-League, so there’s no gifts for anyone.

“You must earn it and, generally, a lot of the games are going to the last minute.

“You can’t switch off at any stage.

“But, we’ve shown we can step up when it matters… and it matters this weekend.”

Newcastle Jets v Macarthur Bulls

(5pm: Sunday 25 February, McDonald Jones Stadium)

  • Squad: 1. Ryan Scott, 3. Jason Hoffman, 5. Lucas Mauragis, 6. Brandon O’Neill, 7. Trent Buhagiar, 8. Apostolos Stamatelopoulos, 10. Reno Piscopo, 13. Clayton Taylor, 14. Dane Ingham, 17. Kosta Grozos, 18. Daniel Stynes, 19. Callum Timmins, 20. Michael Weier, 22. Phil Cancar, 23. Daniel Wilmering, 26. Archie Goodwin, 27. Nathan Grimaldi, 29. Justin Vidic, 33. Mark Natta, 39. Thomas Aquilina

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