Newcastle Jets have commenced a new era in the club's history, kicking off pre-season training on Monday in preparation for the 2015/16 Hyundai A-League season.
The Jets last week appointed Scott Miller as its new head coach and negotiations are ongoing as the club looks to acquire a new owner.
Rookie duo Themba Muata-Marlow and Andy Brennan linked with their new teammates for the first hit-out ahead of Hyundai A-League season 11, while it was a home coming ten years in the making for another Jets recruit.
Experienced defender Nigel Boogaard, who has been part of the Hyundai A-League since its inception, was among the first players to arrive at the training ground as 11 of the squad’s 14 contracted players reported for duty.
Boogaard declared that during his tenures with Central Coast Mariners and Adelaide United, he had always thought about one day signing on with hometown Hyundai A-League side.
“To be honest with you I always wanted to come back and play for my hometown club,” Boogaard said. “I spent all of my junior years playing with the Breakers, originally, and then Newcastle United.”
“I didn’t know if I would ever get the opportunity [to play for Newcastle], so it’s exciting to play for this community.”
“Obviously I grew up here and all my junior football was here, so I know what this community has to offer and what they want out of a football team and what they want to follow.”
Monday’s session consisted of a possession-based game, followed by passing drills, and approximately 20 minutes of running to get the blood pumping. The boys then hit the gym at The Forum to work on their strength.
Boogaard said the session was a great start, and that he could already see potential in the many young players in the squad.
“It was a good session,” he said. “I think the boys are keen to get back to kicking a ball.”
“We love playing football, and to get out there after weeks off, it’s exciting.”
“There is some talent already here, that’s clear to see.”
“There are some older guys with some experience, and there are some younger boys with some big futures, so hopefully we can add a few names to that, get the blend right, and hopefully we can be quite competitive this year.”
Newcastle Jets supporters can meet and listen to Nigel Boogaard on Wednesday evening when he takes part in the club’s Community Forum as a panellist.