Connor comfortable with defensive role

CONFIDENT: Connor Chapman battles with Melbourne Heart's David Williams. Picture: Sebastian Costanzo
CONFIDENT: Connor Chapman battles with Melbourne Heart's David Williams. Picture: Sebastian Costanzo

ROOKIE Jets defender Connor Chapman admits he is learning as he goes.

Less than two months after making his run-on debut, the former Australian Joeys captain was thrust into a foreign position at left stopper in the scoreless draw against Adelaide United.

Not that you would have known it.

The L-plater did not miss a beat, teaming with Taylor Regan to frustrate the league's best attack and steer the Jets to their maiden clean sheet of the campaign.

"Playing left centre-back was a new thing for me, but I felt quite comfortable," Chapman said yesterday.

"Because it is a new position you concentrate more.

"Defensively, with Regan and I, we were quite strong and that gave me confidence."

It was the first time the pair had been united in an A-League game.

Chapman had previously partnered experienced men Tiago and Josh Mitchell in the heart of defence with mixed success.

"I think we complement each other," Chapman said.

"He is more of a hard man, and sometimes I am more of a finesse player.

"Obviously we have played with each other in the youth game and have a good understanding.

"We have been working for a clean sheet for a number of weeks now.

"In the games before, they were tight games but we didn't really get the defensive shape right."

Jets coach Gary van Egmond recruited Chapman from the Australian Institute of Sport a year ago.

Signed as an apprentice, he was promoted to the senior roster this season.

Called into the starting side against the Heart in round nine, he gave away a penalty inside five minutes, but to his credit, did not drop his head.

"In youth league you may make a mistake and you don't get punished for it," he said.

"In the A-League if you make a mistake, there is a higher chance you will get punished.

"It is a different style of game. It is faster and you have to be be smarter and adapt."

Since getting his chance, Chapman has started every match bar the 3-0 loss to Perth in the West in which he came off the bench.

"I was doing all right but I was not up to the standard I should have been," he said of the demotion.

"It gave me more drive to get back into the team, having tasted it.

"I kept working hard and Gary gave me another chance."

Chapman and Regan face another stern test at Hunter Stadium on Saturday against a desperate Brisbane Roar led by dynamic duo Thomas Broich and Besart Berisha.

"Some of the results may not have been going their way but they are a good team," Chapman said.

"We have to come out on the weekend and put it to them."


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