THE Newcastle Jets are fuelled up and ready for their Tamworth take-off.
The Jets arrived in Tamworth yesterday ahead of tomorrow night’s pre-season hit-out against defending A-League champions Brisbane Roar at Scully Park.
It’s the second time the Jets have brought a game to Tamworth after playing the Melbourne Victory a few years back.
Coach Gary van Egmond also made that trip. He was the assistant coach then.
“It’s ways good to get up to Tamworth,” he said.
“And it’s really important from the A-League’s perspective that we bring the game to regional areas.”
Tamworth falls into the same football catchment and van Egmond is looking forward to having a parochial crowd behind them tomorrow night.
They have already played a few warm-up games.
“Its about us trying to ensure we keep improving our performance and building each game,” van Egmond said.
“As we’ve gone through they’ve been getting tougher.”
The Roar will be their toughest so far and probably for their pre-season.
“It will give us a good indication of where we’re at, playing Brisbane,” he said.
“They’ve been the benchmark the last couple of years.”
It’s also another chance for the new players to understand how they want to play.
Van Egmond counted probably half a dozen new recruits.
They’ve signed them from other franchises including Adelaide and Perth, and as far away as Brazil, and have looked both to the present and the future.
“The boys are getting on very well,” van Egmond said.
“We’re very happy with how we sit at this time of the year.”
Tomorrow’s inaugural NIF A-League Challenge will be the Jets’ second hit-out against another A-League side after playing Wellington a couple of weeks ago.
“Again it’s about controlling the game for us,” van Egmond said.
Against Wellington they did that pretty well.
“But Brisbane is an entirely different proposition,” van Egmond said.
“They pride themselves on that too.”
The Jets will be without several of their front-line players, with Ben Kennedy and Joshua Brillante being ruled out yesterday due to injury.
Kennedy will not travel with the team after coming down with a virus and developing some spontaneous swelling in his right knee, the Jets reported on their website.
Brillante meanwhile has not yet fully recovered from a hip-flexor injury that also ruled him out of the Young Socceroos tour to Vietnam.
The Jets will be visiting West Tamworth and Carinya schools today.