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Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Local talent shines in Jets debut

The season has come to an end for the Newcastle Jets, with the club posting a stunning 3-0 victory over Wellington Phoenix on Thursday night.

It was a particularly special win for local talent Noah James, who debuted in goals after a late call up from Jets coach Carl Robinson.

“I didn’t tell the kid until yesterday and I didn’t want to,” Robinson said.

“I could have told him four, five six days earlier but I didn’t want him telling everyone and everyone putting him under pressure because, with young players, you need to take the pressure off them and by telling him last night at the last moment was the best thing.”

The coach was happy with the 19-year-old’s performance after he managed a clean sheet on debut.

“He was commanding at times [and] I think he made some unbelievable saves at times,” Robinson said.

“There’s still areas of his game, like all young players, that he needs to improve on but our job as coaches is to do that and teach them.

“We gave him the opportunity and he certainly didn’t let himself down – I’m sure he and his family are very proud tonight.”

Noah was grateful for the opportunity and glad to have his first game under his belt.

“It was awesome being out there for my first game and to get the win and clean sheet and make a couple of saves, it was really good,” he said.

“I just wanted first touch to go well and I made that save and it was all good from there, I felt pretty comfortable.”

Noah’s first save was in the eighth minute when he stopped Callan Elliot’s powerful effort.

Five minutes later, he somehow kept out Matti Steinmann’s point-blank effort.

The Jets were first to find the back of the net, scoring against the run of play on the stroke of halftime when Angus Thurgate combined nicely with Nick Fitzgerald on the edge of the Wellington area in the 45th minute.

In the second half, a world-class piece of goalkeeping from Marinovic denied Dimi Petratos doubling the lead.

Roy O’Donovan and Bernie Ibini were introduced by Robinson as the Jets looked to kill off the game.

Ibini did just that, producing a thunderous effort from 20 yards in the 76th minute.

Just three minutes later, the lead extended again thanks to Jason Hoffman.

The Jets’ win was their seventh in just 11 games since Carl Robinson was announced as the new manager – a record better than any other side in the competition.

The result sees Newcastle finish the season in eighth spot with 34 points.

Robinson told the media the win was well deserved.

“I thought it was a very good game of football,” he said.

“Obviously, a couple of goals for us that we’re delighted with but, overall, it was a good game of football,” he said.

“The defending from my team was top class, phenomenal blocks, challenges.

“We got a bit lucky at times, they’re a good team, but we caused them a lot of problems as well.”