Mitchell hails spell in the stands

JOSH Mitchell dislikes sitting in the stands as much as any other player.

But the 28-year-old Jets defender admitted the two games he spent out of the side did him the world of good.

Mitchell was back to his combative best, marshalling the Jets' defence and making crucial tackles and interceptions in the scoreless draw with Central Coast.

It was exactly the commanding performance for which the Newcastle-born centre half was recruited from Perth.

"It was what I came here to do," Mitchell said. "It was definitely a better performance, but it is easier to fit into a team with confidence."

Mitchell had been a permanent fixture of the Jets' back four in the opening 14 rounds, but a combination of a nagging knee injury and a couple of unconvincing displays resulted in his benching.

In came Taylor Regan, combining with Connor Chapman to help correct the Jets' defensive woes and notch back-to-back clean sheets.

"There were obviously a lot of individual errors but they come from indecision and indecisiveness as a group," Mitchell said.

"Taylor and Connor, the last couple of weeks, had really fitted in to what Gary is trying to do with the discipline in terms of being compact, being in the right areas and defending a certain way."

Fellow defender Tiago was released to Sydney midweek and Mitchell, who is in the first year of a two-year deal, would have remained on the outer but for a calf injury to Regan.

"You don't want to sit out, but sometimes it is good to watch the boys from up top [in the stands]," Mitchell said.

"Just a couple of little things that they were doing that when you go on a bad run and confidence is down, you don't realise you are doing wrong. I tried to correct them and I think it worked, which was good."

Coach Gary van Egmond described Mitchell's return as a "real leader's performance".

But the 28-year-old will miss the trip to Wellington after he picked up his fifth yellow card of the season for bringing down Nick Montgomery on a breakaway.

"At the time I felt like I had to give the foul away," he said.

"It was the last 10 minutes and you don't want them to counter-attack and score.

"It is a shame, but I just hope Taylor is OK. He has been very good for us since he came in and fingers crossed he will be back."

Mitchell is one of a few Jets to have tasted success in Wellington, where Newcastle's lone win was in September 2007.

"Last year with Perth we went there and I was lucky to get the winner in the last minute," Mitchell said.

"I know what it is like to go there and get a result. You have to do exactly what we did against the Mariners - be strong, be disciplined and stick to the game plan. If we do that, it doesn't matter who plays, we will be sweet."

Picture: Tony Feder/Getty Images

Picture: Tony Feder/Getty Images


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