Newcastle captain Nigel Boogaard wants the Jets to seize their “big opportunity” this Sunday when the club hosts Perth Glory at Hunter Stadium.
Scott Miller’s Jets produced one of their most emphatic and eager displays of Hyundai A-League season 11 last weekend against Wellington Phoenix, silencing the men from the land of the long white cloud 3-1 on home turf.
Boogaard has encouraged his teammates to back up that effort against Kenny Lowe’s purple-whites this weekend, knowing a win will help the Jets to remain firmly in the hunt for the top six.
“It’s a big round for us this week at home in front of our fans,” Boogaard told local press on Wednesday. “I think it might even be kids coming in for free this weekend, so that’s a great incentive by the club to get more local young kids in to view the game. Hopefully we can get a good performance, a good crowd, and everyone goes home happy.”
“It’s [Sunday’s game against Perth] a big opportunity for us to get some momentum, and it’s great to be able to do that at home.”
“[We’re] making sure that we go into each game concentrated on implementing the game plan that the coaching staff want. We have to go in with the right mentality and work ethic that I think was quite evident on the weekend.”
“This weekend is another chance for us to get a result at home in front of our home fans,” he said.
KIDS GO FREE! Treat your kids to some Hyundai A-League action before they head back to school this Sunday when Newcastle Jets take on Perth Glory at Hunter Stadium! http://bit.ly/1n580zqPosted by Newcastle Jets on Sunday, 17 January 2016
Long-serving, homegrown midfielder Ben Kantarovski will miss this weekend’s match due to suspension, however with the Olyroos’ campaign for the 2016 Rio Olympics coming to an end in Qatar overnight, Jets Members and fans may get the club’s new recruit Steven Ugarković for the first time.
Indeed, Ugarković has been named by Miller in his preliminary 18-player squad for this Sunday’s clash with the West Australian outfit.
Aside from Ugarković, Boogaard is sure that the Jets squad contains enough midfield quality to compensate for the loss of the versatile Kantarovski, who celebrated his 24th birthday on Wednesday.
“We have some depth in the middle of the park there with Cam Watson and young [Nick] Cowburn as well, so whoever steps into that role will do the job, we’re certain. Naturally it’s disappointing to miss ‘Kanta’ [because] he’s been a big part of what we’ve done this season.”
Boogaard’s sure that if the squad win their individual duels on Sunday – like they did against the ‘Nix – the three Hyundai A-League competition points will be remaining in the Hunter.
“I don’t think you would have found a bad player out there last weekend,” he said. “The majority of the team won their individual battles, and some of the younger boys obviously stepped up.”
“It was a great team performance from ‘Birraz’ [goalkeeper Mark Birighitti] at the back all the way through.”
“It was pleasing to see that everyone stepped up to the mark, and especially when we were down to ten men that everyone showed that grit and determination to make sure that we got the three points,” he concluded.
Newcastle Jets vs. Wellington Phoenix – Hyundai A-League 2015/16 Round 16
When: Sunday 24 January 2016
Where: Hunter Stadium, Newcastle
Gates open: 4:00pm
Tickets: Please click here to redeem free junior tickets for the match, or to purchase adult admission
Social Media: Use #NEWvPER throughout the match and this week to engage with the game