EXCLUSIVE: Gary Van Egmond has confirmed that Mario Jardel has jetted back to Brazil but another of his strikers has rocketed to new heights in the coach’s eyes.
As he looks towards this weekend’s major semi-final first leg against the Central Coast Mariners, the Newcastle Jets coach is in positive mood.
He has also revealed that the Jets used their league position to their psychological advantage going into the final round.
Van Egmond told his players the worst they could do was finish fourth so there was no real ‘pressure’ in a sense. It meant they should go out there and face Perth without being unduly burdened.
He said: “For us, I think the whole situation worked in our favour a little bit. We knew we had to get three points regardless. If we lost then we’d still finish fourth. We knew we had to play attacking football, take a few chances and we did that.”
A 12th goal of the season from Joel Griffiths helped secure a crucial win and the coach has no problem in acknowledging the efforts of one player in his team.
He told au.fourfourtwo.com: “Look I’m very happy for Joel (Griffiths) and the fact he’s raised his game to a new level.
“He’s starting to get representative honours due to the fact of how effective he is on the football pitch. He’s got better in a lot of areas as far as his technique is concerned and with his goalscoring of course. He’s always had fantastic work ethic and been a winner.
“But there are a lot of unsung heroes. We’ve a number of players who’ve done extremely well from Ante Covic right through to James Holland. It’s important to laud the praises of Joel as he’s done well but we’re definitely not a one man show.”
As he prepares his squad for the first match on Sunday night, Van Egmond is happy with the state of his squad. Stephen Laybutt’s season is over with an Achilles injury while the club’s most high profile recruit will not be handed the chance to say ‘goodbye’.
Van Egmond said: “We go into the game with a full squad, no injuries, no suspensions and we’ve some momentum going into these finals. The boys will be well and truly wound up for it. We’ll be playing this game at a very high tempo and we want the fans to bask in the glory. We have a chance now to bring some silverware to the area.”
As for ‘super’ Mario, he will be well and truly out of the picture and free to seek a ‘fresh challenge’ as they say in football circles. Van Egmond said: “I would suggest Mario definitely will be in that boat. As we speak he may be in a boat. I’m not too sure but I believe he’s looking to go back to Brazil.
“For the rest, everyone has a chance. Last week we saw Troy Hearfield come in from oblivion. If I feel someone’s looking good in training or I feel they can do a certain job, they’ll play.”
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