2021/22 A-League Men Season Preview: Newcastle Jets – Added worldly experience set to help rocket into finals

Newcastle Jets A League Men's
Newcastle will hope to improve in the 2021/22 A League Men's season. (Photo: Newcastle Jets - Twitter)

Last season’s finish:

11th (Five win, six draws, 15 losses)

Biggest in:

The Newcastle Jets have secured the services of former Socceroo Eli Babalj, however a current national team member is a bigger signing for the 2021/22 season with the club securing the signature of Matthew Jurman.

This will be the fourth A League Men club Jurman has been a part of after stints with Sydney FC (2007-2011, 2013-2017), Brisbane Roar (2011-2013) and the Western Sydney Wanderers (2019-2020).

Following a season with Greek outfit Xanthi (and various stints in South Korea and Saudi Arabia), Jurman boasts plenty of worldwide experience, having continued to ply his trade and develop his game overseas.

In the 2020/21 Super League 2 season he played 19 games and now, the defender returns to the A League Men competition where he’ll add to his 154 games – 96 with Sydney, 34 with Brisbane and 24 with Western Sydney.

A part of Australia’s 2018 FIFA World Cup squad, and with eight national team caps, Jurman will be an integral part to the Jets system, helping guide the club out of its low position from the backline, and teach the younger, inexperienced heads vital and valuable information to progress their understanding of the game.

Biggest Out:

After spending three staggered seasons with the Newcastle Jets (2017/18, 2018/19 and 2020/21), Roy O’Donovan leaves for National Premier Leagues NSW club Sydney Olympia.

A mainstay on the Jets list throughout that time, the Irish striker played 69 games for the club and scored 32 goals in the blue and red. He also played 45 games with 19 goals for the Central Coast Mariners (2015-2017) and 12 games with six goals for the Brisbane Roar (2019-2020), taking his career A League Men’s games tally to 128, along with 56 goals.

The 36-year-old lead the club’s goalscoring in 2018/19 (10 goals) and 2020/21 (seven goals) and lead the attack for the Jets over the course of his tenure and his presence will be felt, and missed throughout the coming season.

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What to expect:

With a newly appointed coach in Arthur Papas, the Newcastle Jets will be looking up to his guidance – having been a part of the Jets program previously – to get the team out of their recent slump in form, having missed finals for three consecutive campaigns, after the 2017/18 Grand Final loss.

The Jets will want to create more chances to find the back of the net this season after scoring 24 goals in 2020/21. This, the worst record in the league, and the only team to have an average of less than a goal per game (0.92).

It may be slim pickings for goals to be scored for the Jets again this season though without any true striker, instead relying on attacking midfielders and wingers, especially with O’Donovan’s departure.

Boasting one of the youngest lists in the league, the Jets will be hoping that talent begins to shine through, starting with 16-year-old second-year Jets youth team striker Archie Goodwin (eight appearances, one goal, one assist last season) who managed some game time, but is looking to make it more consistent.

Whereas, midfielders Lucas Mauragis (13 appearances, one goal, two assists) and Angus Thurgate (26 appearances, one goal, two assists) continue to improve off the back of youth team experience and look to carry on that momentum into 2021/22.

Angus Thurgate appeared in 26 games for the Newcastle Jets in 2020/21. (Photo: Newcastle Jets – Twitter)

Predicted XI:

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About Jason Irvine 171 Articles
Jason is a sports journalist for The Inner Sanctum, based in Melbourne. They primarily focus on baseball, softball and Aussie Rules with an interest in cricket, basketball and netball also. They enjoy covering stories not just from Australia but takes delight in highlighting the successes of athletes worldwide as well.

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