Jets strengthened for opener
Newcastle's Olyroos Jade North and James Holland have been rushed back into the Jets squad for the season opener against the Central Coast Mariners on Friday night at EnergyAustralia Stadium.
Newcastle's Olyroos Jade North and James Holland have been rushed back into the Jets squad while marquee player Edmundo Zura has been given the green light to play in the season opener against the Central Coast Mariners on Friday night at EnergyAustralia Stadium.
With Australia knocked out of the Olympics following a 1-0 loss to the Ivory Coast on Wednesday night, North and Holland were on the first flight home and have been included in Newcastle's 17-man squad to face the Mariners in a replay of last year's Grand Final.
Jet-lag will determine whether the duo starts the match but both are expected to get a run.
Meanwhile, Jets officials were given the good news that Edmundo's visa had been approved at lunchtime on Friday, clearing the way for the 24-year-old striker to take his place in the Jets squad for the F3 derby.
After sitting on the sidelines for the past couple of weeks the big Ecuadorian said he is champing at the bit to make his Hyundai A-League debut.
"It feels like home here in Newcastle. Training has been hard but I am enjoying it and I am looking forward to getting out there and doing what I do - scoring heaps of goals," Edmundo said through his Spanish interpreter.
Jets coach Gary van Egmond expressed his excitement about his marquee signing being available for the season opener.
"Zura will start for sure and we look forward to him playing," van Egmond said.
"He gives us a real presence up front, he can hold the ball up and get in behind, he's quick. So we think he can really be a benefit to the football team."
Last year's Golden Boot winner Joel Griffiths said he is looking forward to teaming up with Edmundo to form a lethal striking pair up front for the Jets.
"I think we will complement each other's game," Griffiths says of Edmundo. "He is big, he is strong, he is fast and as far as I know he can put the ball in the back of the net, which is the probably the hardest act to do as a professional footballer."
"I am looking forward to playing with him and getting some combinations going and work towards helping the team retain the title."
In addition to the season opener being the Grand Final replay and the local derby, the match also holds special significance as two sets of brothers could face off on opposite sides of the pitch.
Newcastle's Tarek Elrich will line up against older brother Ahmad, while Jets' midfielder Adam D'Apuzzo will oppose his younger brother David.
"I've spoken to mum and dad more so than Ahmad," said Tarek Elrich.
"He was in the background yelling out 'get ready', and 'I'm going to put it over you', and 'get ready to get kicked', and just being the older brother, bullying me. So hopefully I can get one over him again in the F3 derby, that would be great."