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  • Boogaard steeled for test against Sydney

    2019 - 10.13

    ON THE BALL: Nigel Boogaard is confident the Jets defence will be up to the task of handling Sydney FC on Saturday. Picture: Max Mason-HubersCAPTAIN Nigel Boogaard was bewildered, almost embarrassed, at the Jets’ feeble finish to last season.
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    In contention for the play-offs in January, the Jets’ campaign flatlined, culminating with the six straight losses to collect the wooden spoon and cost coach Mark Jones his job.

    They leaked a whopping 53 goals to have the equal worst defence alongside Perth.

    And while much of the focus of the pre-season has been on the Jets new-look attack, Boogaard has made it clear that “we can’t concedeanywhere near as many goals as we did last year”.

    Boogaard has a new central partner in Nikolai Topor-Stanley and the arrival of right back Daniel Georgievski has added further experience to the back four.

    “The whole game plan is different,” Boogaard said. “We defend from the front and really try to put teams under pressure in their own half. That alleviates a fair bit of pressure from us. The biggest thing is not conceding soft goals and goals from silly mistakes. Last season we gave away too many penalties and conceded from too many corners.”

    To date, the signs have been good. As you, would expect, they held firmagainst northern NSW NPL teams and regional opposition in Northern NSW and Canberra.

    They conceded from a corner in the 1-0 loss to Adelaide in the FFA Cup and also failed to clear a set piece in the 3-1 win over Melbourne City.

    “We haven’t been cut a part in terms of open play,” Boogaard said. “Melbourne City was good. We stuck to the game plan and made sure we pressed them in the right areas. They turned the ball over in areasErnie thought they would. It is about understanding the game and when you can press and when you can’t.Hopefully come round one, we are where Ernie wants us.”

    The Jets take on Sydney FC at Magic Park on Saturday in what Boogaard expects to be their biggest test.

    “They will be a tough and it will be a good marker for us on where we are at,” Boogaard said. “They have quality all over the park. Against A-League opposition, they make clever runs and try to out-muscle you.The more games you play as a back four, the better the understanding. It is about getting ready for round one.”

    Meanwhile, Hunter Sports High will take on Westfield Sports High in the final of the Bill Turner Girls Trophy at NNSW headquarters on Wednesday from 1.30pm.

    Hunter Sports beat Melbourne school Maribyrnong 2-1 in the semi-final on Tuesday.

    Whitebridge High will play-off for third in the Bill Turner Boys Cup after they went down 6-0 to Penleigh andEssendon Grammar.

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