Papas not concerned despite Jets slipping to last

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Having not stepped foot on the field for six weeks, Newcastle Jets now find themselves sitting on the bottom of the A-League Men’s ladder.

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Their last-place position is of no concern to head coach Arthur Papas, however, as no games equals no opportunity for points.

“I think the ladder position would be frustrating if everyone was on the same number of games and that’s where we were at considering how we’re playing,” he said.

Before Sunday night’s clash against Adelaide United, Newcastle hadn’t played a game since December 19, 2021, meaning it had been 41 days since they’d played in the league.

“They haven’t played a game for six weeks,” he said. “Some of them haven’t played for seven weeks.

“To come up against a team that’s played five matches this month is always going to be a challenge.”

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Despite the 2-1 loss and the solidifying of their position at the bottom of the ladder, Papas says it’s not an accurate representation of how teams are playing.

“I find it very difficult to find the ladder to be an accurate description of every team’s performance so far,” he said.

“When you’ve got some teams that are on 10 games, nine games, eight games, and now we’re on six games.

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“It’s not an accurate representation.”

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Before the Covid enforced six-week break, Newcastle Jets were sitting in sixth place on the ladder, a far cry from their current 12th-place position.

Papas, however, is choosing not to focus on the ladder and instead on how his team is performing.

“Looking at the ladder, I think that’s just good for columns,” he said.

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“I’m looking at our performance, I’m looking at what circumstances have prepared us for the game.

“Like I said, I think it was a great performance outside of the last five minutes.”

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As well as the consequential ladder dive as a result of postponed games, the Jets now have a large backlog of games to make up, something Papas isn’t taking lightly.

“We’re the team that’s played the least matches, so the schedule becomes more congested as the season goes on for us,” he said.

“Physically backing up so quickly is going to be a challenge especially because of the type of football that we play.”

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Despite the jam-packed schedule coming their way, Papas isn’t looking to place blame.

“We just have to deal with what cards have been dealt this season,” he said.

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“The biggest issue for us is going to be getting into a rhythm.”

Papas’ main concern now, is converting games into points.

“I think ideally you want to be picking up all the points you can because games don’t equal points necessarily,” he said.

“We want to make sure that when we’re playing, we’re getting the points which we haven’t been able to achieve tonight.”

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Whilst most coaches may fret over a last place spot on the ladder, Papas isn’t concerned and is looking to the coming weeks.

“The results will come,” he said. “That’s not something I’m worried about.”

Feature Image Credit: Jemma Pepper 

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Grace Clegg
Grace Clegg
Covering the Newcastle Jets for the 2021/22 season. Studying a Bachelor of Communication (News Media and PR) at the University of Newcastle. Coffee addict.

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