‘We’re ready’: Jets stare down the barrel of a backlog of postponed games

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The Newcastle Jets are finally back in action after six weeks off the field, but what awaits them is a backlog of postponed games that need to be played across 28 days but head coach Arthur Papas says they are ready.

The Jets announced an updated fixture list on Thursday morning that included a multitude of recently postponed games to take place in February.

In addition to Thursday nights clash with Brisbane Roar, the Jets will feature in five more games within the space of 17 days.

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Newcastle will also play two more games in quick succession, meaning the team will take the field for seven games in the space of 28 days.

Newcastle are at the top of the table for teams who have a myriad of games to catch up on, but despite this, head coach Arthur Papas is choosing to focus on the team producing their best football over the coming month.

“We’re just going to concentrate on the way we want to keep evolving as a team and the way we want to play,” he said.

“We’re about to face a number of challenges whether that’s scheduling or certain players not being available.

“We can grow from these kinds of challenges and that’s the most important part.”

After a quick turnaround from their weekend clash against Adelaide United, Papas and his team made the decision to rest Beka Mikeltadze, the team’s top goal scorer.

Given the number of games the team is about to play in such a short amount of time, the decision to leave Beka out and take Dane Ingham off after the first half was made with the next month in mind.

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“Today we made the decision to leave Beka out,” Papas said.

“He probably could have played but we’ll make those decisions because we believe in the squad.

“We also made a substitution at half time with Dane Ingham. I don’t think it’s anything serious, but he felt something and it’s at the point where it’s a balance now.

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“The lines are pretty thin in terms of pushing them too hard and knowing when to take their foot off the pedal.”

The risk of injury and burnout from playing seven games in such short succession is high and Papas was not taking any chances when it came to the health and wellbeing of his squad.

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“Everyone’s got to look after themselves,” he said.

“Similar to what we did with Beka, we took Dane off at half-time even though he was having a very good game.

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“When you’re playing seven games in 28 days, if you miss two weeks you’ll be out for a long time and you’ll miss a lot of games so that’s the approach we’re going to take at certain times throughout this period.”

Despite the quick turn arounds that the team is about to face, which will inevitably mean less time to recover, Papas was looking to keep things as normal as possible.

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“Our process in terms of timetabling remains the same,” he said.

“We’ll be back in tomorrow morning doing our recovery and there’s some players that haven’t played that need to get some work in as well and some guys who didn’t get a lot of minutes off the bench.

“We’ll have Saturday off and then we’ll have a three-day lead in to our next match.

“After that we’ll have a 72 hour turn around, so the main thing is that we get everyone back on the field as soon as possible and keep improving our game.”

Whilst other coaches may take issue if they had been dealt the same hand as Newcastle, Papas is choosing to face the challenge of the next month head on by looking at it as an opportunity.

“We work extremely hard on the field and that’s not going to change,” he said.

“We’re going to embrace this challenge because we can grow from it.

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Feature Image Credit: Sproule Sports Focus 

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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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