Hoffman: Plenty still to play for as season comes to end

With three games to go in the season, our finals chances are hanging by a thread, but regardless of whether our side is able to pull off a sixth-position-heist, there is still plenty on the line for our Jets and plenty to play for.

Our side currently sit in ninth-place on the table and eight points adrift of the top six, with last week’s disappointing result all but dashing our finals chances.

However with the recent announcement surrounding the schedule changes to the Australia Cup play-off matches, our team are focused on finishing as high as we can in the hope to automatically enter the Round of 32 and putting on a positive showing for our fans.  

Veteran and leader of the team Jason Hoffman, has been in this situation before, but although he admits it’s disappointing to possibly fall short, he was adamant that it won’t stop the team putting in the hard yards for our final matches and there is still “plenty to play for.”

“Finals is going to be very difficult, but whilst it’s still mathematically possible, we will go into every match giving the best performance we possibly can,” Hoffman said.

“In my opinion, over the history of the league we’re probably one of the best teams to miss the finals. I don’t think it’s what we deserve, but people say that the ladder doesn’t lie, and we are where we are for certain reason. Inconsistency has certain cost us over the course of the season.

“We have to look forwards. We can’t be a club or team who looks at the past. We have to look to how we can improve, and it starts with the game on Sunday against Macarthur.

“If we can’t make finals, we have to avoid playing in a cup play-off match. We want to be in the Round of 32, and to build consistency into next season.”

This weekend, our side will take on Macarthur who are also locked inside the battle for the final spots. It’s been a fierce battle between the sides so far this season, including a tight 2-2 draw last time out at McDonald Jones Stadium, and previous to that, a heartbreaking 2-1 loss after a second-half revival from Macarthur at Campbelltown.

Hoffman said the team won’t be fazed by our opponents this Sunday, and pointed out a few pillars of attention they’re looking to build on as the season winds down.

“We have to put in performances that people are proud of that we can build on,” he said.

“We feel like we’ve dominated in the matches against them.

“There’s been many matches like that [2-1 loss] where we’ve dropped points where we feel we shouldn’t have, and that’s that inconsistency. That was one of the early games in Campbelltown where we felt really disappointed that we let it get away. But it’s not in the group’s heads at the moment, it’s more about looking at ourselves.

“Hard work and mentality – they’re the two key areas that we have to improve on.”

Our Jets will be missing star midfielder Daniel Penha this weekend as he serves a two-match suspension, which will force a team reshuffle for our clash.

While Penha’s creativity and work-ethic will be a loss to the team, Hoffman believes who ever fills that void will do the job well.

“Daniel is a loss,” he said. “But we have a quality squad full of players who will get an opportunity. Whether it’s guys like Kosta Grozos or Sammy Silvera – whoever – the rest of the team have faith in whoever fills that position.

“There’s still plenty of opportunities for players to fight for something.

“In the next three matches, I’m sure you’ll see plenty of rotation and boys getting opportunities to put their hand up and people will see the depth of the squad more and more.”