Zane challenges youth to step up

NEW Jets Youth coach Clayton Zane has thrown the challenge out to captain Mason Campbell and his fringe players to rise to the occasion against in-form Hamilton in the Northern NSW State League match of the round tomorrow at Darling Street Oval.

Zane took over the reins of the league-leading Jets this week and was excited at the prospect of his young guns trying to end Hamilton’s seven-game winning streak.

But they will need to do it without A-League squad players Sam Galloway, Mitch Cooper, James Virgili, Jack Duncan and Mitchell Oxborrow.

The Jets A-League squad is heading to Canberra for a week-long camp, and Cooper and Duncan are with the Australian under-22 side.

Zane said it was a great opportunity for players to press their claims for the National Youth League campaign.

‘‘This will be the first week where we don’t have any first-team players, so that’s a good test for our young boys,’’ he said.

‘‘We’re back to the actual youth team and we’ll be looking to see who can stand up out of the shadow of those other guys.

‘‘We need to see who’s going to be good enough for NYL.’’

The former Socceroo, who coached the Jets W-League side last season, has watched Hamilton play twice this season and said they would test the mettle of his under-20 side.

‘‘They’re in really good form and they’ve got a couple of boys I used to play with still kicking around – Brad Swancott, Dave Hodgson and Mat Austin,’’ he said.

‘‘With those experienced guys in the side, they are always going to be one of the tougher teams, and they’ve got a sprinkling of youth in there doing well as well.

‘‘They are one of the most direct teams I’ve seen in the state league and that will be a good test for our defensive line and our centre-backs, having to deal with that physical side of it and playing against strikers who like to flick the ball on and hold their line.’’

He said the match would be a valuable challenge for captain and centre-back Mason Campbell, who comes up against his former team, who boast the goal-scoring power of John Majurovski, Hodgson, Clayton Poole and Ben Koina.

‘‘We talked to him through the week about him really being in control of his back line, rather than being just one of the back four,’’ he said.

‘‘He’s got good leadership qualities, so I think this will be a really good test for him.’’

Hamilton striker Majurovski was looking forward to playing against his former teammate.

‘‘He’s a top kid and it’s great to see him achieving this season because he’s got potential,’’ Majurovski said.

‘‘It’s a shame he left our team, but he’s gone on to bigger and better things hopefully.

‘‘I’ll be giving him a bit of stick on the field and I’m sure he’ll be giving me some as well.’’

Olympic matched the Jets until going down to 10 men in their 3-1 loss first time around this season.

Majurovski believed Hamilton would have won the game if not for the send-off and said his side were looking forward to turning the tables.

Hamilton coach Michael Bolch said his side would be at full strength for the game where a win will bring them level with the Jets.

‘‘They are the benchmark at the moment,’’ Bolch said.

‘‘They’ve had the edge on teams in that last 20 minutes of games, so we’re going to need a disciplined, 90-minute effort to beat them.’’

In first division tomorrow, Lambton Jaffas can take a major step towards promotion with victory over second-placed Adamstown at Adamstown Oval, Toronto Awaba host Singleton at Singleton and Cessnock welcome Thornton. The Maitland-Belmont Swansea match at Cooks Square Park has been postponed

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