FIRST it was glamour boys Melbourne City, then defending champions Sydney FC.
Sandwiched in between were lesser lights Canberra Olympic. Before that routs over park footballers in Port Macquarie and Tamworth.
The Jets’ most recent loss – one of only two in the pre-season – was a 1-0 defeat to Adelaide United in the FFA Cup a month ago.
Next are Wellington Phoenix at Jack McLaughlan Oval on Saturday from 3pm.
It is likely to be the Jets’ final hit out, certainly against A-League opposition, before opening the season proper against Central Coast Mariners in Gosford on October 7.
Defender Nikolai Topor-Stanley, while accepting that it was the pre-season, said it was vital that the Jets continue the positive results.
“It doesn’t matter what game it is or what level, you want to come away with a result and we did that,” Topor-Stanley said of the 2-1 victory over Sydney FC on Saturday. “The most important thing is developing a winning culture. To test yourselves against the champions is a good measuring stick. We are still working on things and have a few weeks up our sleeve to iron out any kinks. We have another good test against A-League opposition this weekend. We look forward to that and continuing the ball rolling.”
Topor-Stanley was part of a senior group at Western Sydney, under Tony Popovic, that established a winning culture. Incredibly, Wanderers were minor premiers in their maiden campaign, notching 18 wins, including 10 straight.
The Jets collected the wooden spoon last season and haven’t made the finals for seven years.
Asked what the Jets needed to do to establish winning ways, Topor-Stanley said: “We have to set the bar at the highest possible standard. Every single thing you do; how you carry yourself on and off the pitch and striving to be the best. The proof is in the pudding at the end of the year. Deep down inside you know if you have put those extra yards in. We are trying to build that culture here.”
New coach Ernie Merrick has introduced a pro-active up-tempo attacking style.
“He is certainly someone who wants to play on the front foot,” Topor-Stanley said. “Attacking football is how you win games, you have to get people forward. By the same token, we want to defend as a whole unit and that starts at the front. You can’t have three strikers who just run forward and don’t do the hard work coming back. Likewise, people at the back need to keep that line nice and high and work harder.”
Sydney opened up the Jets with couple of defence-splitting through balls and had some joy with left back Michael Zulo overlapping.
“There will be times when you have a lot of the ball and there are times when you don’t have the ball and are under the pump,” Topor-Stanley said. “The key is to get through it and when you get your opportunities you have to put them away. We have used the pre-season to work on that familiarity on the lines and leaving no spaces. Yes Sydney had their chances but we created a lot too.”