ANDREW Nabbout’s skinfolds are down. His body fat is at six per cent, he is one of the Jets quickest over 40 metres and his aerobic capacity has increased.
Point to prove? Hell yes!
Thrown an A-League lifeline by the Jets in June, Nabbout was one of their best in the 1-all draw with Adelaide in the season opener.
The explosive winger provided an assist for Wayne Brown and was a constant threat down the right flank.
It is a performance the 23-year-old intends to repeat against Brisbane at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday.
“We need to put them on the back foot early,” he said. “We have pace and we have quality in the middle of the park and we need to use that. Especially against what I think is a bit of a slow backline. That is not saying anything bad about the Brisbane players but that is what we have to expose. We have to use our pace and get in behind.”
Nabbout arrived in Newcastle after six months in Malaysia at Negeri Sembilan, where he was a teammate of former Jet Taylor Regan.
He had previously spent three seasons at Melbourne Victory but after being released at the end 2014-15 season, failed to secure another A-League club.
“Being released from Victory a few years ago and not getting a gig in the A-League and having to go overseas – I definitely have a point to prove,” he said. “I have to show why I belong here. I have to bang in goals and get as many assists as I can. My skin holds are better than ever and my weight is exactly where I want it to be. I am running a lot of kilometres in games at high intensity. I am happy with where I am at and have to keep that going.”
Nabbout scored nine goals in 14 appearances in Malaysia before surprisingly released.
The experience abroad – and the snub from A-League clubs – has made him more determined to succeed.
“I went to Malaysia because I knew I was going to get game time,” he said. “Although it wasn’t an unbelievable experience, it made me a better player. I came back more confident. I have taken complacency out of my game completely. I know what it is like to be on the outer. Now that I have started the season well, that hunger is only going to get stronger to score and stay in the starting XI. I’m not taking anything for granted.”
Nabbout and fellow wingman Andrew Hoole were the stars of the pre-season.
“I need to bring my pre-season form in to the A-League,” he said. “It doesn’t count for anything in pre-season. It is good to get confidence but I need to open my account in the A-League and keep moving forward with goals and assists.”
Chinese winger Ma Lei Lei trained with the Jets on Friday after arriving in the country in the early hours. However, he is not being considered for this weekend.
“We need as much depth as possible,” Nabbout said. “I’m confident in his ability. He has good touch, good technique and will be good for us.”