GLEN Moss jokes that the Jets coaching staff “find new ways to torture you each” pre-season season.
A 215 A-League-game veteran, Moss turns 36 in January and had been content to play a supporting role to Jack Duncan when he joined the Jets at the start of last season.
For the most part, the former New Zealand international did, deputising for the younger custodian in nine regular season games before pitched into the starting side for the grand final after Duncan was ruled out with a quadriceps injury.
Moss, despite his performance in the decider, was again this season prepared to take a back seat.
That all changed during the Jets’ pre-season camp in Spain when Saudi Arabian champions Al-Qadsiah came in with a big-money off for Duncan.
“One minute we were sitting having coffee in Spain, the next minute he is off taking phone calls,” Moss said. “It pretty much happened like that. It was a shame because Jack is such a talented goalkeeper and I loved working with him.”
Moss is now front and centre. Not that it alters his approach.
“Whether I am first choice or second choice my attitude doesn’t change,” he said. “You have to go out there and prepare to play. This is my 15th preseason. Again they find new ways to torture you each season. The gym sessions and injury prevention stuff, I have taken it all on board. Up stairs before training you see the 30-year-old plus boys doing yoga and pilates, and the young boys are sitting around sipping coffee.”
Moss was outstanding in the Jets’ 1-0 win over minnows Gold Coast United in the FFA Cup round of 32 earlier this month.
The veteran is looking forward to “another test” against a Bruno Fornaroli-led Melbourne City at AAMI Park on Wednesday.
“Playing against A-League opposition is exactly what we want,” Moss said. “City have pretty good firepower up front. We get to test ourselves at this stage of the pre-season. It will be interesting to see where different clubs are at. We have had a really good pre-season. One of my best to be honest, with the trip to China and Spain and having already played an FFA Cup game.”
Fornaroli produced a wonder-strike in the final minute of extra time to snatch City a 1-0 win over Brisbane in an epic battle last round.
“We have to get into good habits and be switched on,” Moss said.
Nick Cowburn is likely to come into midfield for Ben Kantarovski, who injured his calf in the warm-up before the 2-all draw with the Mariners in a friendly on Saturday.
Venezuelan star Ronny Vargas will play his first FFA Cup match after sitting out the win over the Knights.
”We have guys who can hurt the opposition and it would be great to see Ronny, especially, in full flight,” Moss said.
Moss has been working with Jets youth keepers as the club searches for a replacement for Duncan.
“It won’t be easy to replace him, that’s for sure,” Moss said. “It is always enjoyable to work with talented experienced goalkeepers. That is why I enjoyed it so much with Jack. Right from the first session, I thought ‘gee this kid is not going to stay around long’ and he didn’t as it turned out.”
However, Moss doesn’t intend to hand over the No.1 shirt once a new keeper walks through the door.
“Even last year when I played nine games when Jack was hurt, I still wanted to keep it until my body gave in,” Moss said. “That is life as a professional footballer. I got my first chance when Mark Paston got knocked out the day before the first ever Phoenix game. I played the whole season. Football, especially goalkeeping, is a funny business. There is only one shirt unlike the rest of the boys who can play a number of positions. I want to start. I love it. I don’t want to be doing anything else. This is me. I want to play as long as I can.”
Jets (likely): Moss; Jason Hoffman, Nigel Boogaard, Nikolai Topor-Stanley, Daniel Georgievski; Steve Ugarkovic, Nick Cowburn; Ronny Vargas; Dimi Petratos, Kost Petratos, Matthew Ridenton