15/04/2024

Reno Piscopo showed his potential in the absence of Beka Mikeltadze in the Jets' 3-1 over Wellington. (Image: Newcastle Jets)

After winning their opening two games for the first time in club history, Arthur Papas and his side are full of confidence ahead of their travel to CommBank Stadium to take on the Western Sydney Wanderers.

The big word coming out of the Newcastle camp following its clinical 3-1 dismantling of Wellington has been ‘belief’.

Midfielder Callum Timmins said there’s no limit to the Jets’ success this season when talking to the media after the win. While co-captain Carl Jenkinson believes the six rounds before the World Cup are the perfect launch pad to build their season.

Through their first two games, Papas has been most impressed by the squad’s ability to work together so quickly. He said their fluidity as a team surprised him due to how little game time they had before round one.

“We didn’t play a lot of games in the pre-season to get a guide of where we were at,” Papas said.

“There are early signs that are really promising. We’re getting an opportunity to see what some of the good things in our game are as well as what areas we need to keep working on. And ultimately, we want to do this over a long period of time.

“I see a group who enjoy coming in every day and working together, that’s pleasing for a coach. Seeing a bunch of blokes who want to hang out together on and off the field and push each other to be better.

“There’s belief in the group, these players have a lot of confidence in themselves and the players around them.”

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A missing Beka Mikeltadze was no issue for the Jets, who now have themselves five individual goal-scorers over the opening two matches. They’re showing a side which is now able to find multiple avenues to goal.

The missing talisman opened the spotlight for Rene Piscopo to prove why he was named The Inner Sanctum’s biggest inclusion for this season. The 24-year-old bagged an assist in his man-of-the-match performance playing as a false-nine behind Beka Dartsmelia.

The Jets’ new inclusions had a day out against the New Zealand outfit, with all three goals being scored and assisted by players new to Newcastle this season. Papas was impressed with how quickly they were settling into the system.

“There was a large period in that first half where they all looked really settled, other times there were areas for improvement. But it’s positive signs early in the season for sure,” the coach said.

“As it stands, we’ve scored five goals from five different goal scorers, it shows you we aren’t relying on one man.

“We create a system that allows every player to be their best.”

Looking ahead to the treacherous journey to Western Sydney, the two undefeated clubs look set for an epic battle, with the passionate Wanderers fans beginning to return from the cold.

Papas is looking forward to seeing how his side manages their first away match of the season.

“I think it’s a good challenge for the group,” he said.

“As a footballer you want to play in games that has pressure on, games that mean something.

“We’ve got two teams so far that are undefeated, although it’s only early. These are the kind of games you want to test yourself and measure yourself against the rest.”

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