Season Preview: Newcastle Jets

The Newcastle Jets will be hoping to make it back to the finals in season nine of the Hyundai A-League, we preview how they plan to fire in 2013/14.

The Newcastle Jets will be hoping to make it back to the finals in season nine of the Hyundai A-League as we preview how they plan to fire in 2013/14.

Team After a first round defeat to kick off last season the Newcastle Jets went on to record victories against tonight-s opposition Sydney FC and eventual champions Central Coast in the next two rounds. Their season never really climbed to any heights and eventually finished the year with only one point from their last four matches.

There is cause for optimism this time around though. Gary van Egmond has managed to keep the overwhelming majority of his squad together, while adding the likes of Kew Jaliens, Joey Gibbs and Nathan Burns to his roster. The experience of last campaign will hold this relatively young squad in good stead and they will no doubt continue to improve as the season progresses.

The Jets have looked good in pre-season, recording wins over the Mariners, Victory and Sky Blues. While they will miss their marquee striker Emile Heskey in the early rounds of the season through injury, the Jets are by no means a one man team. Young guns Mark Birighitti and Josh Brillante have had experience with the Socceroos squad in recent times and despite not having the profile of last season-s marquee signings, former Dutch international Kew Jaliens will definitely be another one to watch.

Manager Coach Gary van Egmond has been with the club for the best part of the last 12 years. First as an assistant, before taking over the reins a third of the way through the 2006/07 season and guiding the then last placed side to an unlikely finals berth. The former Socceroo was named Hyundai Coach of the Year in the following season, and aside from a stint with the AIS has remained at the helm of the Jets. Having missed the finals last campaign, Van Egmond will be desperate to guide the Jets to a top six finish this term.

Star Player Football fans across the country will be eager to see how former Dutch international Kew Jaliens adapts to the Hyundai A-League. Jaliens joins the Jets after spending the last three seasons at Polish heavyweights Wisla Krakow. The 34-year-old has represented the Netherlands on 10 occasions and spent more than a decade plying his trade with Dutch Eredivisie clubs Sparta Rotterdam, Willem II and AZ Alkmaar. The defender has said a major factor behind his decision to sign with the Jets was the opportunity to take on a new challenge, so it will be interesting to see how he rises to the occasion this season.

Fans The main supporter group of the Jets are known as the Squadron, who have been behind the side ever since their involvement in the very first A-League match with Adelaide United. The Squadron started originally gathered behind the goals on the Southern Hill of Hunter Stadium but as their numbers grew have since moved to the Eastern Grandstand. The club are on the verge of signing 10,000 members for the upcoming season which highlights just how passionate supporters in the Hunter region are for their side. With chants like "When The Jets Go Flying In" and the tradition of singing the chorus to the INXS song "Never Tear Us Apart" before the start of the game and second half, the Squadron will no doubt be heard loud and clear in 2013/14.

Ins & Outs

Ins Kew Jaliens (from Wisla Kraków) Joey Gibbs (from Western Sydney Wanderers) Nathan Burns (from Incheon United, South Korea - on loan) John Solari (from White City, South Australian Premier League)

Outs Jack Duncan (to Perth Glory) Bernardo Ribeiro (to IFK Mariehamn, Finland) Ryan Griffiths (mid-season transfer to Beijing Baxy) Dominik Ritter (released) Marko Jesic (released)