Newcastle Jets are taking off
The Newcastle Jets Ryan Griffiths retrieves the ball as he celebrates their matching winning goal by Sung - Hwan Byun during their A-League match at Newcastle Stadium, Newcastle, Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011. Newcastle defeated the Heat 3-2. (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)
With the start of the 2012/2013 A-League season approaching, many fans will be wondering how their team will fare. Today, we will take a look at the off-season recruiting of the Newcastle Jets and what fans might be able to expect for the season.
Rewind the clock to 20th October 2011, where the Jets appointed the only manager to take them to the Premier’s plate, Gary Van Egmond. The former AIS coach, who was thrusted into the coaching job just before round three of the inaugural season, inherited a largely ageing Newcastle Jets squad that never looked like contenders for the Premier’s plate, let alone the finals series.
Despite all the off-field dramas and the uncertainty surrounding the future of the club, they continued to act by bringing in new players that could give the Newcastle Jets’ faithful a future to get excited about.
Van Egmond obviously knew he needed to freshen up his squad with some much needed youth and it was obvious that his connections with his previous employer, the AIS, have paid off.
The first arrival was Adelaide United goalkeeper Mark Birighitti. The talented young shot-stopper, originally from Perth, was back up for Adelaide number one Eugene Galekovic. He is likely to gain more game time and experience with the Jets but will have to contest with current number one Ben Kennedy.
Two players that have left the Jets are wing backs Tarek Elrich and Byun Sung-Hwan. The Jets moved swiftly in signing their replacements Scott Neville from Perth Glory and Craig Goodwin from Melbourne Heart. Both players can press quite high up the pitch and will add a much needed energetic spark down the flanks for the Jets.
Also following Neville from Perth Glory are his two team mates Josh Mitchell and Adam Taggart. Locally raised Mitchell will provide strong depth and good experience alongside Tiago Calvano in the centre of defence, while young Adam Taggart will excite fans with his youthful exuberance upfront.
Former Switzerland youth international Dominik Ritter arrives and will look to make a name for himself among Jets fans. Ritter, who came through the youth system at FC Basel will look to gain regular football after not experiencing much during his short career.
While the Newcastle Jets remained in the A-League, one club not so fortunate was Gold Coast United. With the folding of the much troubled club, the Jets saw the opportunity to snap up three of its most promising players in Josh Brillante, Mitch Cooper and James Brown.
All played a number of games for the Gold Coast, but it is the signing of Brown that will most excite fans. Brown lit up the A-League last season with some spectacular goals and is seen as a potential player for the Socceroos in the future. The young attacking midfielder will look to fill the gap left by Jeremy Brockie who returned home to the Wellington Phoenix. Expect some spectacular goals from the young player in the coming years.
While it is hard to not get hopes up when it comes a new season beginning, it has to be said that realistically the Jets might not be in contention for the Premier’s plate this season. But, in the coming seasons after that when the young squad has settled into their new environment, you can expect the Jets do a lot of damage on the pitch.
The Jets are taking off.
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