Youth preparations on track


Clayton Zane says the Newcastle Jets youth team are close to finalising their squad for the 2012/13 NYL season.

Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets National Youth League head coach Clayton Zane says the Jets youth team are close to finalising their squad for the 2012/13 NYL season.

The young Jets open their campaign against the Central Coast Mariners in Tuggerah on Sunday, October 21 and Zane said he only has a handful of positions left to fill.

“We-re only a few weeks into the preparation and we-ve focused mainly on conditioning,” Zane said.

“This week we-ll look to confirm the squad, get the train-on players added in and focus a bit more on the tactical side of things.

“We prefer to go with local-based players so we-ll have a look at some of the NSWIS boys and some younger ones as well.

“We-ll probably end up with a squad of around 15, but we-ll obviously have some first teamers coming back to play with us each week as well.”

Zane said having a core group of players in the squad who played in this year-s NBN State League would prove crucial to the chemistry of the team.

“It-s a four week pre-season and for two weeks of that, half the group isn-t here,” he said.

“With that in mind, it-s good to have some players around who already know the system.

“It-s going to be a pretty steep learning curve for the others who need to get on board straight away with what we-re trying to do.

“They-re here for their development on a technical level as well as a tactical level. You give the ones that show the technical side a bit more time to get the tactical stuff right.”

Zane said the young Jets will be looking to improve on their eighth-placed finish last season.

“There are a couple of players who qualify for youth team level but are training full time with the first team, guys like Jack Duncan, Mitch Cooper and Mitch Oxborrow,” he said.

“We-ll be competitive and looking to hopefully finish in the top three or four.”