JETS skipper Nigel Boogaard can’t recall being as excited about the start of a new campaign.
A rebooted Jets will play their first competitive game under new coach Ernie Merrick against Adelaide United in the FFA Cup round of 32 at Marden Sports Complex on Wednesday night.
However, Boogaard may be without defensive partner Nikolai Topor-Stanley, who is awaiting an International Transfer Clearance from previous club Hatta in the United Arab Emirates.
The matter is now with Football Federation Australia. An FFA spokesman confirmed that they had received the “relevant documentation” from the Jets and were now working with the UAE Football Association to resolve the issue.
“We will do all we can to ensure the player is available on Wednesday,” the FFA spokesperson said.
Topor-Stanley is one of four new arrivals alongside Daniel Georgievski, Dimi Petratos and Roy O’Donovan set to start against Adelaide.
“The FFA Cup is something special,” Boogaard said. “It is the first competitive game for the year and a good opportunity to showcase where we are at in terms of implementing Ernie’s style. He has made it quite clear that it will be attacking and always on the front foot. We are not going to sit back waiting for teams to come at us. Hopefully, there is a lot of goals being scored and not so many being conceded. For us, it is a more enjoyable way to play football. If we can execute Ernie’s game plan, it will go a long way to us winning. Obviously, we are not anywhere near where we want to be at yet but it is a good stepping stone.”
The Jets are yet to progress past the round of 32 in the FFA Cup. They lost to Perth Glory in 2014 and 2015 and went down to Melbourne Victory last year.
Boogaard was part of the Adelaide side which were inaugural champions.
“That is something I will always remember,” Boogaard said. “I didn’t win too many trophies down there and to be the first winner of the cup is something special. Everyone wants to win it. The expectation from us is to go down there and get the job done. The great thing about going well early is that there is a a game to look forward to every fortnight.”
Adelaide, like the Jets, have a new coach in former Bundesliga boss Marco Kurz and a host of new faces.
“They are very similar to us in terms of where they are at in the pre-season,” Boogaard said. “From all reports it is very different to what it has been.”
Classy Argentine Marcelo Carrusca was among a host of players released. Baba Diawara, who scored three goals in seven games after joining the club midway through last season, will spearhead the attack.
“He is dangerous and proved last year that he can score goals if given good service,” Boogaard said.
Jets: Jack Duncan; Jason Hoffman, Boogaard, Topor-Stanley, Daniel Georgievski; Steve Ugarkovic, Ben Kantarovski; Dimi Petratos, Wayne Brown, Andrew Nabbout; Roy O’Donovan. Res: Glen Moss, Lachlan Jackson, Nick Cowburn, Mario Shabow, Kosta Petratos