Jets pumped ahead of Wanderers clash


Craig Deans says the Jets are excited by the challenge of tackling last season’s Premiers Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday.

Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets assistant coach Craig Deans says the Jets are excited by the challenge of tackling last season-s Premiers Western Sydney Wanderers at Hunter Stadium on Saturday night.

The Jets have surged to third place on the Hyundai A-League ladder following their 2-1 victory over Melbourne Victory on Sunday and a win this weekend would see them jump ahead of the Wanderers into second.

“The Wanderers showed last year how good a team they are and this year they-ve continued on in pretty much the same fashion,” Deans said.

“They-ve strengthened their team as well from last year, they brought in a couple of players that have added a little bit to them.

“They-re going to be a very tough opposition this weekend, we really look forward to the game, again it-s testing yourself against the better teams from last season and obviously they were in the top two.”

The corresponding fixture last season drew the Jets- biggest crowd of the season of 22,518 and Deans is adamant a strong vocal crowd will give the team a massive lift.

“I think we match up pretty well against them and the home support will be hopefully something that can swing the game in our favour,” he said.

“If we can get a nice big crowd there like we did last year than that would be nice.”

The Wanderers had a strong travelling contingent of fans at Hunter Stadium last season but Deans is confident the local supporters will be out in force this weekend.

“It-s a nice challenge for our own supporters to put the Wanderers fans back in their place a little bit,” Deans said.

“As much as we-re wanting to show other clubs we-re a good team, it-s also nice as a Club to show we-re a good Club with the best supporters.

“So far this year our fans have been fantastic and Saturday will be a good opportunity for them to show they won-t be intimidated either.”

Jets attacker Nathan Burns scored a brilliant double on the weekend to open his account for the Club and Deans felt the former Socceroo was only going to improve.

“I think you could see a lot of relief on his behalf when he scored and I think the confidence he took from the first goal gave him the confidence to score the second goal,” he said.

“So hopefully that builds from week to week now and you see a lot more from here between now and the end of the season.”

Deans said the Jets were determined to bounce back from their loss to Sydney and prove they were a force to be reckoned with.

“To lose two games in a row in this competition is something that can really hurt you, so we wanted to make sure that didn-t happen,” he said.

“The Clubs like Brisbane, Victory and Sydney FC are the so-called glamour clubs of the competition, we-ve always been a Club where people think because we-re from a smaller city we-re not as good a team.

“But that-s an outside perception and that-s not a perception we have, we have a lot of confidence in the players and they have confidence in themselves.

“At no stage did we go to this game thinking we weren-t good enough to win it, sometimes people do underestimate you and it-s nice to prove to people that we are a good team.”

Newcastle Jets v Western Sydney Wanderers
Saturday, December 14
Hunter Stadium
Kick-off 7.45pm
Tickets available from PROticket.