18-man squad for Round 1

Craig Deans has named an 18-man squad ahead of Saturday’s Round 1 game against Melbourne Heart, to be played at Ausgrid Stadium.

Craig Deans has named an 18-man squad ahead of Saturday-s Round 1 game against Melbourne Heart, to be played at Ausgrid Stadium.

There are a number of positions up for grabs and the way Marko Jesic (ankle) and Jeremy Brockie (calf) get through training on Thursday will play a part in the selection for the starting 11. Another decision for Deans is who will start as goalkeeper, with both Ben Kennedy and Matthew Nash performing as equally strong in the pre-season.

“There are a couple of players that we need to look closely at on Thursday afternoon at training and make a decision on how they are traveling but everyone is pushing hard to be in that squad,” Deans said.

Deans is confident the team will not be distracted by recent events and are preparing well for Saturday-s game.

“Everyone is excited for the game regardless of the situation we are in now, the most important thing is the game on Saturday and their attitude at training yesterday was superb.

“They worked hard, they put in the effort, there mind was on the job and I was really pleased with the session yesterday.

"Come Saturday there will be one focus and that is to win the game.”

"We are hoping that everyone will get behind us and come along to the game, a vocal home crowd can make all the difference," Deans added.

Newcastle Jets v Melbourne Heart

Date: Saturday October 8, 2011 Gates open: 3pm Kick-off: 4:30pm Location: Ausgrid Stadium

18-man squad:

1. Kennedy 2. Regan 4. Topor-Stanley 5. Calvano 6. Kantarovski 7. Wehrman 8. Brockie 10. Zadkovich 11. Elrich 12. Wheelhouse (c) 13. Byun 14. Haliti 15. Payne 17. Virgili 18. Jesic 19. Nash 22. Abbas 23. Griffiths

Watch Craig Deans' selection video here.

Watch Craig Deans discuss his selection here.