JETS coach Gary van Egmond has entrusted his senior players with enforcing on-field discipline after admitting the spate of bookings Newcastle have incurred this season is unacceptable.
In nine games, Jets players have received 33 yellow cards and three reds, seven more than their nearest rivals, Sydney FC, who have conceded 29 yellows.
In last week’s 1-0 loss to Brisbane, defender Josh Mitchell was sent off after two bookable offences – the second could have been an instant dismissal in its own right – and five of his teammates were shown cards.
Van Egmond said he had spoken to the squad to ‘‘reiterate our displeasure’’ and asked Newcastle’s leadership group to help him uphold standards.
‘‘They’re the ones I want to govern it,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s no use me standing there with a chair and a whip, because at the end of the day they’re the ones who will take that responsibility.
‘‘And they’re the ones that will deem the punishments needed.’’
Asked if those measures would involve imposing fines, van Egmond replied: ‘‘Talk to the older group.’’
Newcastle’s leadership group includes Jobe Wheelhouse, Ryan Griffiths, Ruben Zadkovich, Tiago, Michael Bridges, Scott Neville and Ben Kennedy.
Mitchell and Griffiths, who received his fifth yellow card of the campaign, will miss Saturday night’s derby showdown with Central Coast through suspension, further depleting a squad which will also be without injured stars Wheelhouse, Kennedy, Ben Kantarovski and Mark Birighitti. Striker Adam Taggart is away on Socceroos duty.
Van Egmond said he had spoken to A-League referees boss Ben Wilson this week seeking clarification on some rulings, but he acknowledged that his players needed to clean up their act.
‘‘There’s some silly yellow cards in there, for sure,’’ van Egmond said yesterday.
‘‘That lack of discipline won’t be tolerated ... it’s about making sure that the discipline from within the group stays right and they keep their focus with that.’’
Van Egmond felt some of the cards handed out by rookie referee Brenton Hayward in last weekend’s game were ‘‘a bit strange’’, however he received some ‘‘clarity’’ in his discussion with Wilson.
Wheelhouse, who limped out of training with a knee injury on Tuesday, hopes to learn today how long he will be sidelined after scans.
‘‘We’ll know more by Thursday,’’ van Egmond said.
‘‘He’s obviously got some movement in his knee, so I’d suggest there’s no way this weekend he’s playing.’’
Van Egmond said Josh Brillante and Jacob Pepper were the candidates to replace Wheelhouse. Craig Goodwin was the favoured option to fill in for Griffiths.
Taylor Regan is expected to come in for Mitchell.
Van Egmond was undecided about who would deputise as captain.
‘‘You’ve got the likes of Ruben Zadkovich, he obviously comes into that fold,’’ van Egmond said.
‘‘Someone like a Scotty Neville comes into that fold, Dominik Ritter ... obviously Emile [Heskey].
‘‘We’ll have a little bit more of a look at it, but we’ll talk more with the leadership group and make that decision.’’