Inside the Keepers’ Union: Duncan enjoying mentor role

Since his arrival to the Club back in 2010, goalkeeper Jack Duncan has played various roles as a Jet between the sticks, but for one of the first times in his career, he’s now the veteran leading and mentoring a very young group.

Alongside youngsters Noah James and Michael Weier, Duncan is competing each day at training knowing that his two fellow glovemen are biting at the bit to become the #1 keeper.

The competition is healthy though as all three are pushing one another forward with the help of goalkeeper coach Chris Bowling.

For Duncan, he’s relishing the new contingency of keepers and his role amongst them.

“It’s funny how quickly being in this position comes around,” Duncan joked.

“The atmosphere is really good. There’s a really good team spirit.

“Noah [James] has been around for a while and had some good experience last year on loan, and Michael [Weier] is doing really well. He’s had a lot of games under his belt in the NPL and he’s a really good keeper.

“As a goalkeeper’s union, along with the two goalkeepers from the youth team and Bowlo (Bowling) as well, we’re trying to push each other as best we can.

“They can learn off me, and I can learn off them as well.”

While Weier is a brand new addition to the group, James and Duncan have spent much time around one another already over the years.

Upon returning to the side after spending last season out on loan, James pointed to the veteran goalkeeper as someone he models his own style on.

“He’s helped me a lot,” James said.

“I’ve been with Jack since his first stint at the Club. We’ve got a good relationship, we work together a lot and he’s helped me with everything.

“I think he’s one of the best keepers in the league so learning off him every day is a great thing.”

Despite being the only one of the three without any Isuzu UTE A-League experience, Weier joins the team at a prime time, having excelled at the NPL level in his young career.

The former Hume City man won two consecutive NPL Goalkeeper of the Year awards, but this year marks his first experience as part of a professional squad and he believes the comradery of the group will lift everyone’s games.

“We’ve got a good keeper union here,” Weier said.

“If we’re all doing the right things on and off the field, it’s going to get the best out of all of us, and that goes right down the juniors and youth keepers too.

“We stick together and work together, and it’ll show on the field with our performances.”

Whoever spends time in the goals this season will be behind a backline that is all fresh to one another.

While some might see that as a possible negative, our veteran goalkeeper Duncan believes the side will all be on the same page and thrive alongside one another.

“There’s a lot of new faces in the team but especially the back line,” Duncan said.

“Everyone who’s come in has played at a good level and they’re all really good players, so it doesn’t take too long to spark those relationships.

“Over the weeks to come, heading into the season, we’ll look to build on things so we can hit that first game of the season feeling really confident in each other.”

James, who has spent the majority of his career as a part of the Club, echoed his mentor’s thoughts and believes there is a great vibe across the team.

As a Newcastle native, the academy product is excited for the new direction of the team, and can’t wait to see the city unite behind the team once more.

“It’s very exciting,” James said.

“There’s this energy around the place.

“I feel like if we can show what we can do on the park, this town will really get behind the team and we can go on to win the league. That’s the main goal for everyone.”

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