Teenager Angus Thurgate heads to China on Tuesday with the Jets hungry for more after getting an unexpected taste of the A-League last season.
The 18-year-old was named on Monday in a 17-man squad to travel to Haikoi to compete in the Super Champions Cup featuring Beijing Guoan, Shanghai Shenhua and Sydney FC. Fellow Jets Youth NPL players Jackson Frendo, Jack Simmons and Kieran Hayes, and Broadmeadow’s James Virgili, were confirmed as tour members. Senior players Nikolai Topor-Stanley, Daniel Georgievski, Nigel Boogaard, Ronny Vargas and Dimi Petratos will not make the trip, where Newcastle play Beijing and Shanghai between Friday and Sunday.
Thurgate, a Port Macquarie junior, was a scholarship player in the Jets squad last season and appeared seven times off the bench in their run to second place and the grand final.
Off contract after the coming season, Thurgate was focused on pushing his claims for a regular bench spot.
“It was good, it was a bit of a surprise at the start, getting an opportunity through injury,” he said of 2017-18. “But I guess as the season went on I kept getting these opportunities so I was grateful.
“I tried to take them, I obviously didn’t score, I hit the post against Wellington, but it was a really good learning experience.
“It’s given me a taste and I want it even more now.”
As for the games against the Chinese Super League clubs, he said: “It’s a good opportunity for the younger players in the squad to get some game time and look to practice the things we’ve been learning.”
Also Monday, FFA announced that Jets striker Roy O’Donovan’s appeal against a 10-match ban for his grand final high foot on Lawrence Thomas will be heard on Tuesday, July 10.
Newcastle Jets squad to China:
1.Jack DUNCAN, 3.Jason HOFFMAN, 5.Ben KANTAROVSKI, 6.Steven UGARKOVIC, 13.Ivan VUJICA, 16.Nick COWBURN, 18.Johnny KOUTROUMBIS, 19.Kosta PETRATOS, 20.Glen MOSS, 22.Lachlan JACKSON, 23.Matthew RIDENTON, 24.Joe CHAMPNESS, 32.Angus THURGATE
Jack SIMMONS, Jackson FRENDO, Kieran HAYES, James VIRGILI