Young legs to carry Jets to the end of season

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Newcastle Jets coach Craig Deans is looking towards younger members of the squad to step up in the final rounds of the A-League 2020/21 season.

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With Luka Prso, Connor O’Toole and Ramy Najjarine’s season stint with the Jets cut short, 19-year-old Lucas Mauragis and 16-year-old Archie Goodwin are in line for further game time.

“We’re going to lose three boys on Wednesday,” Deans said.

“We might as well start having a look at some of the younger boys coming through the academy and youth team and see where they are at.”

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The young-gun duo showcased their strengths in Friday’s 2-1 defeat against Brisbane Roar, leaving Deans to consider calling them into action for the remaining games.

“Lucas is going to have to play a fair bit of time.

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We need to get minutes into him but I thought he came on and had a good impact on the game,” Deans said.

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“Archie is still learning his craft but he had some good moments. He didn’t create anything clear cut but he caused some trouble with his speed and runs in behind.”

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The loss of Prso, O’Toole and Najjarine to the U23’s Olyroo national side has further stretched the already thinned-out Jets squad. 

Despite bad luck still plaguing the Blue and Reds, Deans believes there is enough talent within the club to select and would not let his players pass this opportunity. 

For me to deny them the chance to play for their country, that is not how football works,” he said.

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“Anytime you get to play for Australia, you should be desperate. You should be proud of doing it.”

Newcastle will face another gruelling challenge this weekend as they meet first-placed Melbourne City. 

Although the odds are stacked against the Jets, Deans is using their second half tussle against Brisbane as a strong takeaway for what they can deliver this week. 

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Especially as Mauragis and Goodwin brought some much needed fire and exhilaration into the side. 

“We finished the game with none of those three on the park and it wasn’t a bad performance,” he said. 

“It’s an opportunity now for other people to step up.”

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Jemma Pepper
Jemma Pepper
Covering the Newcastle Jets for the 2020/21 season. Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) and Bachelor of Arts in International Studies (Germany) at the University of Technology Sydney. Seven days without playing football can make one weak!

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