Kantarovski: Player absences no excuse for ‘disappointing’ Jets

Newcastle Jets defender Ben Kantarovski says the absence of some key players was no excuse for his side’s drubbing against Adelaide United on Friday night.

The Jets saw their Premiers’ Plate hopes almost extinguished as they were crushed 5-2 by the rampant Reds at Coopers Stadium.

It was an unhappy night for the Hunter club, who went into the clash without injured duo Roy O’Donovan and Nigel Boogaard, while Dimitri Petratos was away on international duty with the Caltex Socceroos.

With star attacker Andrew Nabbout also leaving for the J-League recently, it was a new-look Jets outfit but Kantarovski denies it was the reason for their heavy defeat.

“It’s a disappointing result for us. It’s our first loss in a while and hopefully we can learn from our mistakes and take into the finals,” he told Fox Sports.

“We lost a few good players and but got some good players coming back too. We also have a few young boys who have an opportunity to step up, what you want is a good player so it’s up to them to take that opportunity with both hands.

“Next week we have Roy O’Donovan coming back and a few other players will be back as well and hopefully we will look forward to another result the next week.”

After a superb run of form of late, the Jets are assured of finals football and only need one point to secure a top-two spot and home Grand Final qualifier.

It’s a luxury for the Jets to know they are realistically just one win away from a decider so far out from the Finals Series.

“It’s exciting. The people in Newcastle haven’t had that for a while, the community in Newcastle has been really supportive,” said Kantarovski, who scored both of the Jets’ goals on Friday night.

“We really have got all them behind us, so we’ve got to do it for them.

“At the end of the day, we are going to go out there and try our best and hopefully make that grand-final.”

Jason Hoffman is put under pressure by Adelaide's Johan Absalonsen.
Jason Hoffman is put under pressure by Adelaide's Johan Absalonsen.

While Jets boss Ernie Merrick was disappointed with the result, he insists there’s no reason to panic

"Our boys looked flat and tired and we had a couple of boys who are a real presence on the field weren't there," he said.

"I'm still proud of the players. It's only their first loss in seven games and we've to cope with that, take it as a kick up the backside and move on and prepare for finals football."

The Jets are back in action on Easter Sunday when they host Melbourne City at McDonald Jones Stadium.