Merrick teases bright future as Jets youth run rampant
Newcastle Jets manager Ernie Merrick says his young brigade showed fans a glimpse of what they are capable of after a thumping 6-1 win over Brisbane Roar on Saturday evening.
The mauling at Suncorp Stadium, the worst in Brisbane’s Hyundai A-League history, was carried out by a youthful Jets side with Merrick resting a host of senior players.
Speaking post-match, the Scotsman was measured in his praise while also respectful of his counterpart.
“First of all I think Darren Davies has a tough job tonight,” Merrick said.
“He’s got a lot of injured players out, a lot of senior players out so I think the scoreline doesn’t give a true picture of where the two clubs are at.
“They’ve had a tough year, we’ve had a better year we just haven’t scored goals but tonight it came together really well.
“I talked about re-building this team and this was our first night really and given that there were six players under 21 in the squad I think it’s a good sign.
“We’ve played the sort of football we played regularly last year and finished really well so overall a good night for us and a tough one for Brisbane.”
Joey Champness was particularly effective for the Novocastrians, notching up a brace and an assist while Angus Thurgate was also influential.
Merrick said there was potential to be spotted all over the park.
“I particularly targeted this game to give some of the younger boys a run,” he explained.
“Angus Thurgate, Joey , who had a 20-week injury, he’s back on form. Even the boys we brought off the bench, young Jack Simmons, he’s just turned 17 last week, Pat Langlois is 19 years old.
“Our two fullbacks are both in the Olympic team, Ivan Vujica and Johnny Koutroumbis so overall it was a young side.
“I was really surprised, Angus and Joey were probably our best two players and he [Thurgate] was outstanding.
“He not only was winning the ball but he was setting up all the plays, he rarely gave it away. He gets embarrassed because he’s from Port Macquarie and they call him the ‘Port Macquarie Pele’ which is a slight exaggeration!”
Davies remains steadfast in defeat
Being on the receiving end of the worst defeat in the club’s history in the Hyundai A-League was never going to make it easy for interim manager Darren Davies post-match.
The Welshman handled questions with aplomb however, remaining honest in the wake of the five-goal margin.
“It is what it is, we’re in the position it is so we just need to move forward,” Davies said.
“The position we’re in, those young boys out there are giving their all. Along with that statistic [record defeat] it was probably the youngest A-League team we’ve fielded as well.”
Davies took the time to praise the Roar’s sole goalscorer, rookie Zach Duncan, who popped up shortly after half-time to make it 2-1.
“Brilliant, absolutely brilliant, highlight of the night,” Davies said.
“He’s a young boy, 18 years old and for him to score is obviously a dream come true."