A-League: Freedom for Newcastle Jets midfielder Andrew Nabbout on eve of 2017-2018 season

CREATIVE: Jets pair Andrew Nabbout and Roy O'Donovan oversee Mitch Revs put the finishing touches on a club artwork at McDonald Jones Stadium on Thursday. Inspirations Newcastle-born business Inspirations Paint announced a major sponsorship with the A-League club for a third straight season. Picture: Simone De Peak.
CREATIVE: Jets pair Andrew Nabbout and Roy O'Donovan oversee Mitch Revs put the finishing touches on a club artwork at McDonald Jones Stadium on Thursday. Inspirations Newcastle-born business Inspirations Paint announced a major sponsorship with the A-League club for a third straight season. Picture: Simone De Peak.

Andrew Nabbout describes it as freedom.

Having new recruits like Roy O’Donovan, Ronald Vargas and the Petratos brothers, Dimitri and Kosta, helping him to spearhead the Newcastle Jets attack for 2017-2018.

At times Nabbout almost single-handedly carried the last-placed side in his rookie season, but on the eve of this A-League campaign a fresh injection of players was just what the 24-year-old midfielder ordered.   

“It gives me a lot more freedom with them around me,” Nabbout said at Thursday’s sponsorship announcement with Inspirations Paint.

“I know when one of them get the ball, somehow it will get to me. Last year I had to create a lot of things on my own whereas this year I trust those other boys. And they trust me. It has been like that from day one so we’ll see how we go this weekend.”

COMBINATIONS: Jets duo Andrew Nabbout and Kosta Petratos at training this week. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

COMBINATIONS: Jets duo Andrew Nabbout and Kosta Petratos at training this week. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

The Jets are away to rivals the Central Coast Mariners in an F3 derby on Saturday (5:35pm) and Nabbout, who scored eight goals and produced six assists in 2016-2017, said he felt further ahead than 12 months ago.   

“I feel a lot stronger and a lot more confident than this point last year,” he said.

“There’s a bit more stability and it’s exciting already with the players we’ve brought in.

“I couldn’t think of a better game to start than the derby. It’s a chance for us to show the league what we’re really about from the get go.”

Nabbout said he’d more than likely line up on the edge against Mariners opposite number Jake McGing with New Zealand representative Storm Roux (lower back) ruled out Thursday.   

Following Friday’s captain’s run Jets coach Ernie Merrick will finalise the 16-player squad for his first competition game in charge at Newcastle. 

“Whoever takes the park and no matter the score, all I’m asking for is lots of energy, lots of energy and lots of determination for the entire 95 minutes,” Merrick said.  

Nabbout, O’Donovan and Merrick saw the finishing touches of a club artwork by Mitch Revs on Thursday. It will hang at the Jets office with Inspirations Paint returning for a third straight season as major sponsor, including the front of Saturday’s alternate white jersey.

JETS SQUAD: 1 Jack Duncan (gk), 4.Nigel Boogaard (c), 5 Ben Kantarovski, 6 Steven Ugarkovic, 7 Dimitri Petratos, 8 Ronald Vargas, 9 Roy O’Donovan, 10 Wayne Brown, 12 Mario Shabow, 13 Ivan Vujica, 15 Andrew Nabbout, 16.Nick Cowburn, 17 Daniel Georgievski, 19 Kosta Petratos, 20 Glen Moss (gk), 22 Lachlan Jackson, 24 Joe Champness, 44 Nikolai Topor-Stanley.