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Season Preview 2014/15: Newcastle Jets

Given the busy transfer period the Jets have had this pre-season, they have done remarkably well to fly under the radar like they have. A mass exodus of young talent in Adam Taggart (Fulham), Josh Brillante (Fiorentina), James Brown (Melbourne City), Connor Chapman (Melbourne City), and Craig Goodwin (Adelaide United) has forced new boss Phil Stubbins to search far and wide for a new pool of talent to elevate Newcastle into finals contention, following a disappointing 2013/14 campaign.

Stubbins was appointed coach at the end of last season after interim coach Clayton Zane was unable lead the Jets to finals. With a season anticipated to be as close as any, with every team a realistic chance to make finals, Stubbins has been wise in carefully selecting his limited number of visa players.

Most likely to impress is Edson Montano. The 23-year-old Ecuadorian has been lured from Ecuadorian powerhouse Barcelona Sporting Club in hopes of regular first team action. The youngster will also be looking to break into the Ecuadorian international team with a string of impressive performances, after featuring in the 2011 Copa America squad. Having already scored once this pre-season, the energetic striker will certainly be one to watch this season.

Two Argentinians familiar to the A-League in Jeronimo Neumann (Adelaide United) and Marcos Flores (Adelaide United, Melbourne Victory, Central Coast Mariners) may prove to create one of the more prolific partnerships this season, as the national compatriots have proven to be a handful individually when playing to the best of their ability.

The Jets, however, haven’t been playing to the best of their ability during the pre-season, managing just one win in five games against A-League opposition. Having conceded 11 goals in those games, the problem will most likely be in defence for Newcastle this year. Kew Jaliens will need to step up in defence if his first season as captain is to be a successful one.

The Dutchman is likely to be paired with Taylor Regan in central defence, although another new arrival in Adrian Madaschi (Jeju United) could prove to bring some valuable experience to what shapes up to be a relatively shaky-looking back four.

Along with a bevy of youngsters leaving the club this season, one of the most experienced heads (former skipper Ruben Zadkovich) has also departed the club, having signed with Perth Glory. Despite his fiery temper, Zadkovich was a talisman in his four years at Newcastle, and will be missed more than most others this season.

After a short and largely unsuccessful stint in Asia, Billy Celeski (Liaoning Whowin) has returned to the A-League, and is set to be a like for like replacement for Zadkovich, if his previous success at Melbourne Victory are anything to go by.

Another player to watch in the Newcastle midfield this season is Northern Irishman Jonny Steele (New York Red Bulls). Alongside Jeronimo, he immediately impressed in his pre-season debut which saw Jets’ best result as they thrashed local NPL side Weston Bears 8-1.

Although results have largely gone against them, the Jets have steadily improved just in time for the start of the season. Newcastle start their 2014/15 campaign against rivals Central Coast Mariners, who they drew 0-0 with during pre-season. Once the players who are mostly unfamiliar learn to gel with each other, they individually boast an enormous amount of talent and could produce some beautiful football, and some beautiful results.

Pre-Season results

Weston Bears 1-8 Newcastle Jets — Jeronimo x4, Griffiths, Jaliens, Farmer, Ward

Newcastle Jets 0-1 Juventus

Brisbane Roar 4-0 Newcastle Jets

Newcastle Jets 3-0 NQ All Stars — Neville 16′, Goodwin 34′, Griffiths 88′

Newcastle Jets 2-4 Sydney FC — Griffiths 45′, Montano 61′

Newcastle Jets 2-1 Wellington Phoenix — Griffiths 22′, Virgili 76′

Central Coast 0-0 Newcastle Jets

Newcastle Jets 2-1 Australia U20 — Pepper 18′, Jeronimo 25′

About the author

avatarBorn and raised in Melbourne, Bill is a student journalist at Monash University and life-time fan of the round ball game.

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