Newcastle coach Scott Miller was satisfied after his Jets drew 1-1 with Brisbane Roar, a team he believes are definite challengers for the Hyundai A-League title.
On Saturday afternoon, ladder-leaders Roar took the lead early in the second half thanks to hotshot striker Jamie Maclaren.
But Jets midfielder Ben Kantarovski jagged an equaliser with 20 minutes left on the clock.
The home side then held on in the latter stages with Jets keeper Mark Birighitti brilliantly denying Maclaren a second goal on 77 minutes.
Miller praised his side’s ability to work hard against such classy opposition in front of just over 10,000 fans at Hunter Stadium.
“On reflection it just shows the quality of players they [Roar] have the way they were able to control the second half with and without the ball,” he told ABC Radio.
“A lot of credit must go to our team … working so hard out of possession I thought they showed great discipline and professionalism.”
Miller has made the Jets are far tougher side to break down but added their game-plan evolving.
“We’re changing our style slightly to control more games but where we didn’t do that last week [against Adelaide in the 0-0 draw] was in the final third.
“This week we really worked on the final third entries and we created more chances and we want to keep creating more.”
Jets hero Birighitti said it was a fair result. “Overall I’m happy with the performance... but disappointed we didn’t get all three points," he told ABC Radio.
“Their [Roar's] possession based football is the benchmark in the league.
“First half we struggled a bit playing out from the back. Hard conditions with the wind but we came out in the second half and we were a lot better side.”
Miller added his opponents on Saturday will be there or thereabouts at the business end of the Hyundai A-League season.
“They’ll be going for the title. They’re a very strong side and we must take a lot of credit and confidence from today’s performance."