Newcastle Jets down but not out as season comes to a close

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Despite a less than ideal back end of the regular season, Newcastle Jets have put on a number of spectacular performances to round out their campaign.

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After a 3-0 win over Macarthur, the Jets followed it up with a 1-1 draw against premiership and championship contenders Western United on Wednesday night.

Following the game, head coach Arthur Papas had nothing but praise for his side.

“To be honest, that performance was outstanding,” he said.

“We had eight players out and probably 10 on the field who literally have been stuck in bed all day.

“To see that kind of performance with one day less turnaround compared to [Western United] and how strong we finished that game, I couldn’t be prouder of that group of players today.”

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Despite a rocky first half of the game, Newcastle came out firing in the second half and got the equaliser through Jordan Elsey.

“We weren’t great in the first half. I thought they were better in the first half and then I thought we were outstanding in the second half,” said Papas.

“Overall, I’m really proud of these guys today.”

Despite an overall outstanding performance, there were many notable players missing including captain Matt Jurman, Olivier Boumal, Archie Goodwin and key playmaker Angus Thurgate coming off the bench.

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When asked if any of these players would return for Saturday’s game, Papas was uncertain.

“I have no idea if we’ll have any of the boys back for Saturday because we made a call on the line-up at about four o’clock today,” he said.

“That’s how late we had to leave it.

“I think I said to the staff we’ve probably used more Vicks VapoRub than Dencorub today to prepare for this game, but I think that sums up the character of this group.”

Another notable absence from Wednesday night’s clash was the suspended Daniel Penha, however, there’s still question marks as to whether he’ll be starting in Saturday night’s game despite being back from suspension.

“I’m not sure if [Penha] will start on Saturday,” said Papas. “He’s also been quite ill throughout the week so even though he was suspended, he probably wouldn’t have fronted up for either of those games anyway.

“We’ll assess tomorrow and see how everyone pulls up.”

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With the question hanging in the air, Papas was quick to assure everyone that the club wasn’t dealing with another Covid outbreak.

“It’s not Covid, we’ve been tested, so not really sure what it is to be honest,” he said.

“It’s gotten a little bit worse as the week’s progressed so we’re hopefully at the back end of it now.

“Symptom wise everyone’s been fluey and not feeling great with very low energy.

“At this point, we’re just trying to get bodies back on the park.”

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Looking ahead to the final game of the season, Papas says the team haven’t thrown in the towel and are still looking to play good football.

“The focus is to still be as competitive as we can be in very game and not look at it from a table point of view but from a match point of view,” he said.

“You always want to give your best and you want to put on a performance and get a result so that’s the message regardless.

“The boys haven’t thrown in the towel and that’s why they’ve been outstanding.”

Feature Image Credit: Sproule Sports Focus 

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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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