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A-LEAGUE: Spring in Jets vet Hoffman’s step

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There is a spring in the step of Newcastle Jets stalwart Jason Hoffman.

It might have something to do with a new coach in Rob Stanton or the crop of talented youngsters in the club’s ranks or the positive vibe at pre-season training.

Even better, it could be the A-League Men’s organisation’s upcoming “road trip” to the Mid-North Coast.

No matter what it is, the 34-year-old can’t wait for 2023/24 to officially kick off.

A-League
Jason Hoffman is heading into his 17th A-League season.

“There’s an air of excitement around the place,” Hoffman said.

“Certainly, the newcomers have arrived full of energy and enthusiasm, so I guess it rubs off on you.

“But, when you’re going into your 17th season in the A-League, you do find your rhythm as a senior player.

“And, you seem to manage the workload very, very well.

“However, I suppose the big difference between this pre-season and those gone by is that I’m the most senior player at the club right now.

“So, there’s a certain responsibility that comes with it.

“Especially, being a local boy, understanding the fabric of the football club and the community, you need to try and instil that on the pitch in the style and the cultural line that we want to develop.

“So, I guess I’m feeling the responsibility and I’m excited by that.

“I get to communicate these things into the way we want to play… the expectation that making the finals is not enough.

“We need to set the bar really high because then you put yourself in with the best chance.

“The A-League is too close a competition to aim any lower.”

Hoffman made his debut with Newcastle in 2007.

Since then, the ex-Hamilton Olympic Warriors FC player has appeared in more than 229 fixtures for the Jets across all competitions.

So, he knows the value of a good bonding session.

We need to set the bar really high because then you put yourself in with the best chance.

Jason Hoffman

Newcastle will venture north on Sunday 17 September, thanks to Greater Bank.

The Jets are scheduled to spend four days training and hosting clinics in Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour, visit schools on the coast, and tackle the Brisbane Roar at C.ex Coffs International Stadium on Wednesday 20 September.

“It’s things like that (the tour), which you can culturally embed in a group such as ours,” he told the Newcastle Weekly.

“When you go to Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour, you get the chance to be around each other in the hotel a little bit more.

“I mean, they’re both great spots, aren’t they?

“That’s a positive we look forward to every year.

“Don’t forget, we have plenty of supporters throughout the entire northern New South Wales region.

“So, for the new guys, they’ll get a taste of that support and what it might become (with good results) on a tour like this.”

Jets
Newcastle Jets star Jason Hoffman.

Hoffman’s referring to the recent sporting buzz in the Hunter, via league rivals the Knights and the starring role of Novocastrians Emily van Egmond and Clare Wheeler with the Matildas.

“Newcastle and most supporter bases in the A-League always like a winner,” he said.

“You can clearly see that at the moment.

“The Matildas are successful, in their own right, and it’s terrific a couple of local girls were in the squad.

“So, you can see what success brings and, when you feel like you’re relatable to the community as well, people genuinely connect with what you’re doing.

“They will come and support that.

“For us, that’s a good challenge to have.

“With the Knights now progressing into week two of the finals, their support throughout the city has gone through the roof.

“When they go for coffee, when they eat out, when they’re walking down the street, people are going to pull them in and say: ‘well done, we’re right behind you’.

“We felt that in 2017/18 when we made the grand final here at home.

With the Knights now progressing into week two of the finals, their support throughout the city has gone through the roof.

Jason Hoffman

“And, it would be no different if we can replicate that, too.

“But, even though we can feed off it, we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves either.

“You can relay stories of the past and say: ‘we will get this when we do well’.

“However, the main thing is you need to start where we are.

“We’re a new squad that must build from the base up, especially after the results that we’ve had in the past couple of years.

“We need to be very real about where we are and where we need to get to.

“And, while it’s exciting to have that end goal as a grand final, and when you make finals football, people in Newcastle will come out and be totally around you, it’s something that you can encourage the boys to aim for.

“But, we must also perform on the field day-in, day-out.

“We need to start the A-League Men’s season in reality… with positive results early.”

The Jets face the Perth Glory in round one on 22 October.

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