D’Apuzzo steeled for Finals football

One of the Jets’ Grand Final heroes, Adam D’Apuzzo, believes that defensive discipline will be the key to Finals success in 2010.

On Sunday, 24 February 2008, the Newcastle Jets created history by winning the first national football league Championship by any side from the Hunter Valley.

Current captain Matt Thompson, dynamic right-back Tarek Elrich and the versatile Adam D-Apuzzo all played the full 90 minutes on that day, with Jin-Hyung Song being substituted late on. These talented mainstays of the club will once again suit up in Newcastle colours this Saturday evening when the side takes part in its fourth Finals Series in five seasons of the Hyundai A-League.

D-Apuzzo today explained that despite the big occasion, and the odds being stacked against the Jets, that nothing will overawe the experienced Newcastle outfit come game time on the Gold Coast.

“I know that personally I don-t fear (going to Skilled Park). They don-t really have the crowd numbers there to really intimidate at the moment, but it-s a great pitch and we-re a good footballing side so it will suit the way we play,” he said.

With Ben Kantarovski ruled out with a hamstring injury, the ever-adaptable D-Apuzzo may be required to take on a more defensive role in the sudden-death play-off against the highly fancied Gold Coast.

That being the case, the 23-year-old left-footer and his defensive colleagues will need to keep a close eye on Hyundai A-League 2009/10 Golden Boot winner Shane Smeltz. The Kiwi striker finished the regular season with an impressive 19 goals from 25 matches, including a double against the Jets in Round 18.

However, D-Apuzzo believes that with previous Grand Final experience and five seasons of history under their belts, the Jets will have an abundance of resilience heading into the do-or-die play-off.

“They do have a good attacking line but I think we have a good defensive line and we know that with Finals football that you-ve got to be more solid than ever.”

“The boys, as they showed at training today, are extremely confident, the communication is extremely good, so we know we just have to keep structurally sound and keep them out,” said D-Apuzzo.