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ALM: Something special building at the Jets

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It’s a common catchphrase currently being bandied around the Newcastle Jets… “there’s something special building here”.

And, while the A-League Men’s (ALM) squad hasn’t exactly set the world on fire in 2023/24, most pundits feel it won’t be long until Rob Stanton’s outfit makes its mark in the competition.

Despite another narrow 1-0 loss to F3 derby rivals Central Coast Mariners at the weekend, leaving the side in 11th place, plenty of positive signs are emanating from the club.

Newcastle knocked over pacesetters Wellington Phoenix earlier in the season, have matched it with some of the ALM’s big guns, racked up four wins and seven draws, and fielded the youngest side by a country mile.

Mark Natta has shown plenty of promise for the Newcastle Jets in 2023/24. Photo: Michael Gorton Images

It’s one of the reasons several of the talented “kids” have re-signed with the Jets, with Thomas Aquilina, Mark Natta, Nathan Grimaldi and, now, Clayton Taylor committing for another two years.

“I believe we are building something special here with this team and I want to be part of it,” the latter reiterated.

Taylor, who joined Newcastle this season, has made 19 appearances to date, scoring five goals.

But, he’s determined to take his game to another level.

“I’ve really settled into Newcastle and the Jets and I know that this is the best environment for me to continue to grow as a footballer and as a person,” he said.

“Rob is a coach who backs me and is great for young players.

“I’m looking forward to continue working with him over the next two years.”

Stanton was equally complimentary.

“Clayton’s had a great impact in his first year at the club,” he said.

“His attitude is fantastic.

“I believe he has the attributes and desire to become even better.

“I’m happy to have him here at the Jets for the next two seasons… and I look forward to seeing what that progress for him will look like.”

Stanton admitted he was thrilled with the way Newcastle was developing for the future.

“I know the supporters want wins, so do we,” he told the Newcastle Weekly.

“If we turned four of those draws into victories, we’re sitting comfortably in the top six.

“However, they’re learning things every day, which will benefit them in the long run.

“The players have been very responsive to everything, from the training model to the playing structures… they’ve bought into the culture we’re creating.

“You can just see the growth and development with those guys, they’re maturing as footballers as well as individuals.

“So, there’s been a little shift.

“I think, when you back young players over time, they’re going to get better.

“They’ll have a lot more belief.

“There is plenty of potential here and that’s slowly turning into good performances.

“With the youngsters, such as Thomas, Mark, Nathan and Clayton, they’re also getting more game time and experience.

Personally, I can see the progression and development of the players getting better, getting stronger.

Rob Stanton

“It’s probably a big reason why they’ve wanted to stay.

“And, for some of them, this might only be the starting point for something better.

“If we can win something with this group of players, that would be really good.

“But, if we build a platform, where others come into it from underneath the Jets Academy or from outside, that’s great, too.”

Stanton will continue to ignore the “white noise” and “stay the path” to ensure Newcastle’s future remains bright.

“That’s the main thing as a coach,” he said.

“You have a purpose and vision and how you want your team to look and play.

“To see that come to life is good, however you also want to develop the players.

“Winning is a by-product of how you do that.

“I feel I’m doing a good job with the group.

“We just need to secure the wins to match that effort.

“Personally, I can see the progression and development of the players getting better, getting stronger.

“So, to know those guys are staying is a vote of confidence in the process and what we’re trying to achieve.

“You also want to keep your fans and the community happy… it’s important how we go about that.

“We need to give them hope while inspiring the kids who come to watch the matches.

“I met a lot of youngsters during the Members Appreciation Round and I was quite surprised by how committed and passionate they were about the Jets.

“It was a terrific feeling.

“I came away thinking I had a big responsibility in what I’m doing.

“And, it motivates me to not only do my best but to keep going.”

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