Jets A-League captain urges caution

Dec 17, 2017 - 6:05 AM Wary Newcastle captain Nigel Boogaard needs to rewind just 12 months to know how quickly a high-flying Jets A-League side can come crashing down.

The Jets occupy second spot on the ladder and have a double digit lead over the seventh-placed Western Sydney going into their final pre-Christmas game at home to the Wanderers on Friday.

They were convincing 2-1 winners over Adelaide United on Saturday.

They have already accrued more points (23) than in all of last season and are the league's highest scorers, having embraced the attacking philosophy of veteran coach Ernie Merrick.

With the season halfway point looming, a finals spot for the first time in eight years looks increasingly likely.

Last season Newcastle were fifth at the corresponding stage, but won just two of their last 16 games, and none of their last 10.

They finished bottom after losing their last six.

"No-one is getting carried away," Boogaard said.

'We were in a really good position this time last year, and the wheels fell off.

"This year we've got an experienced coach who can maintain that belief but also keep the lid on it.

"We've got experienced players all round the park that can maintain that focus.

"But if we're not in the top six at the end of the season, then we'll look back and go 'Oh, why did it matter that we were sitting second coming in before Christmas?'.'"

Boogaard isn't surprised Newcastle have continued scoring freely despite long-term injuries to leading striker Roy O'Donovan and import playmaker Ronnie Martinez.

"The way Ernie has set us up, the way he wants us to play, means that the boys that have come into those positions that Ronnie and Roy have vacated, they know their role to a tee," Boogaard said.

"As long as we stick to the structure and do what Ernie wants, the results will come."

Lauded for their attacking style, Newcastle have shown the past two weeks they can win even when playing well below their best.

"I think at the end of the season, you look back at games like this week and last week, and go 'They are the ones that haves set us up hopefully making the top six'," Boogaard saId.

"They are the games in the past we may have turned over."

Source: AAP

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