Jets coach Mark Jones hopes Keanu Moore first of many NPL triallists | poll

AIMING UP: Keanu Moore at Newcastle Jets training on Wednesday at Ray Watt Oval. Picture: Jonathan Carroll.
AIMING UP: Keanu Moore at Newcastle Jets training on Wednesday at Ray Watt Oval. Picture: Jonathan Carroll.

EDGEWORTH tyro Keanu Moore was on a family holiday on the Gold Coast when the call he moved to Newcastle from Tamworth for in 2014 finally came.

Ninety minutes later the 21-year-old was on a plane to Newcastle to get ready to train with the Jets.

And it’s a call Jets coach Mark Jones plans to make happen for more Northern NSW National Premier League talent.

Moore started a trial with the A-League club last Friday after standout performances for Edgeworth over their past two seasons of domination, especially in their run to the NPL play-off final and FFA Cup last 16 this year.

The quicksilver No.10, who has earned interest from Victorian NPL clubs for next season, got the call from Edgeworth coach Damian Zane on October 12 to tell him he had been invited to train with the Jets. 

“He told me to get home ASAP,” Moore said. “It was 2.30pm and I was at the airport on a plane at 4. I wasn’t going to turn down that opportunity.”

It’s a chance Moore, with the financial backing of his family and support of the Eagles, has focused on full-time since relocating to Newcastle two and a half years ago.

“It’s great just to be in there with the boys in a professional environment, I’m just happy that they’ve given me the chance,” he said. “I just have to keep impressing, and that’s what I’m aiming to do. It's a good opportunity regardless, but hopefully something does come of it.”

Coming in on the recommendation of Jets assistant coach Clayton Zane, Moore has had five training sessions so far in the open trial and Jones likes what he sees. 

“He’s very tidy on the ball,” Jones said. “He’s technically good, he moves the ball quickly and he’s a threat, and that’s what we’re looking for. He’s someone with the potential to maybe step up and play at the next level.”

Moore said he was set to train with the Jets after the 2015 NPL season but then-coach Scott Miller “didn’t want anything to do with it”.

Jones, though, said he would regularly be giving Hunter-based talent a chance to prove themselves.

“Whilst there’s not a spot open at the moment, it’s good to bring the best young local boys in and have a look at where they’re at for obviously injury replacements or if something comes up this year or for the start of next season,” Jones said.

“The day after a home game, the ones who don’t get a lot of game time are mixed with the youth team and we have a game. That’s a good opportunity to also bring in who we think are the more talented locals to have a look at. The ones who do well, we’ll invite into training and who knows from there.

“People get injured, and it would be good to have a list of local players who we think are good enough or worthy of maybe coming in and filling a spot.”

Jones said the Jets would liaise with local coaches and clubs about other potential triallists.

He said Adelaide United’s recent signing of Adelaide City NPL player Nikola Mileusnic was an example of finding exciting talent outside A-League club systems.

“He was playing in the local league in Adelaide and that’s just refreshed my memory, so to speak, on the need to be looking at the local boys because there’s obviously talent in the area,” he said.

“There are some who have missed their opportunity for whatever reason and who haven’t come through youth teams who we need to look at.”

Moore was soaking up the experience at the Jets and learning what he could from his time with the club.

“I’m obviously happy, I was a bit nervous at first,” he said.

“I didn’t know what to expect but I started last Friday and I’ve just been enjoying it since.

“They have been giving me positive feedback and tell me I have been going good.

“I know myself I’ve been going good but I’ve obviously still got a bit to work on, but they can see that and they’ve been giving me pointers to help me, and I’ve been enjoying it.”

As for adjusting to the new training environment, Moore said: “It’s obviously heaps more intense, but it’s the same because Damian knows what he’s doing and he models Edgeworth’s training on the Jets’.

“It’s obviously different quality players, but it’s the same idea, so it's not like I’ve been thrown into it with no idea. That’s helped me a bit.”