Elrich backs underrated Jets

Newcastle fullback Tarek Elrich has scoffed at tipsters predictions that the Jets will finish near the bottom of the table in the upcoming Hyundai A-League 2010/11 season.

Newcastle fullback Tarek Elrich has scoffed at tipsters predictions that the Jets will finish near the bottom of the table in the upcoming Hyundai A-League 2010/11 season.

A poll of football experts has predicted the Jets to come second-last this campaign, but Elrich laughed off the pre-season suppositions and has warned the Hunter-based side can improve on last year's better-than-expected top six finish.

"The so-called experts have backed us to come second last or last again but it is no surprise," Elrich said at the Jets' season launch this week.

"But we have made four finals out five campaigns, so I reckon the boys will go pretty good. We have got plenty of depth this year and we have a got a good mix of experience and young guys and remember, it isn't a sprint - it is a marathon.

"I don't want to jinx us or anything but I can see us going a very long way."

Elrich said the team's off-season signings have not only added extra depth to the Newcastle team but some spirit, particularly in the centre of the park.

"I think we have brought in what we didn't have in the past and that was a bit of ticker," Elrich said.

"Kasey (Wherman) in the middle of the park gives us a bit of mongrel - I think we have been missing that over the last couple of seasons."

"Ruben (Zadkovich) brings a lot of energy into the team. He is a very fit bugger and he doesn't mind getting stuck in as well."

"We've also got Jeremy Brockie, who has just come back from the World Cup and he is an excellent inclusion and I have to give special mention to Marko Jesic - he has just come back from a long-term injury. He is doing great and hopefully he can stay out on the pitch and have a big season for us this year."

Personally, Elrich is looking forward to an even bigger season than last year, particularly as he is 100 per cent injury-free for the first time in a couple of years.

"In the off-season I had my groins operated on and I am pretty happy to get that out of the way and I am looking forward to the start of the season," he said.

"The new inclusions have created competition for spots and as a footballer that is what you like. I am just looking forward to getting out there after my big break."

"I love putting on that gold jersey ever week and I want to give everything I can out there on the pitch - I don't want to leave anything in the tank and I want to do the people of the Hunter proud."

"Newcastle is the sort of town that gets behind us and I want to do something to repay them with some success. Hopefully we can go two more steps further than we did last season."