Birighitti backs young defence

Mark Birighitti expects the Jets’ young backline to face another difficult test against Brisbane at Hunter Stadium on Saturday.

Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets goalkeeper Mark Birighitti says he expects the Jets- young backline to face another difficult test when they come up against Brisbane Roar at Hunter Stadium on Saturday night.

The Jets kept their opponent scoreless for the first time this season when they drew 0-0 with Adelaide United last weekend featuring a back four with an average age of only 20.

Birighitti, only 21 years of age himself, said was impressed by the composure shown by the Jets- defence against the Reds.

“Playing behind them, it was good playing with that back four,” he said.

“I think we have to keep that and work on it, so hopefully it doesn-t change too much.

“There were a lot of young boys and the average age of that back four was 20 or something like that.

“To go out and perform the way they did was fantastic and hopefully they can keep improving.”

Birighitti said the Jets defence would have to be on their toes to make it back-to back clean sheets against Brisbane this weekend.

“No doubt Brisbane will come out this week with all guns blazing after a disappointing result against Melbourne Heart,” he said.

“They will want to come out and prove a point, so it-s going to be a tough game, but I-m pretty confident the boys can step up to the challenge and get three points.”

The Jets will be particularly wary of last season-s Golden Boot winner Besart Berisha, who returned to goal scoring form with a brace against the Heart.

“Everyone knows what a top quality striker he is, but I just have to be on my toes, go out there and play like I-ve played every other game, be confident and do my job for the team.”

Along with Berisha, Brisbane possess a number of attacking threats and Birighitti said he will not hesitate to come leave the penalty area to clear the ball should the Roar get in behind the Jets defence.

“Gary wants to play a high line and in doing that, I have to keep a high position so I can sweep anything that comes over the top,” Birighitti explained.

“It showed on the weekend when a few times I did come out and I picked up the scraps with those balls over the top and acted as another defender.

“It-s just a confidence thing. The more games the better you-re going to get at coming out and dealing with those situations.”

Despite not getting the three points against Adelaide, Birighitti said the whole Jets squad had been buoyed by the performance and their first clean sheet of the season.

“It-s been coming for a long time now and I-m glad it came against my old club,” he said.

“The boys had a solid game, the back four was solid and we kept our structure well.

“Hopefully we can build on that performance and get three points this week against Brisbane.”

Meanwhile, Jets midfielder Ruben Zadkovich injured his knee at training on Tuesday. He will have scans to determine the extent of the injury and his availability for Saturday's match against Brisbane will be assessed later in the week.

Newcastle Jets v Brisbane Roar Saturday, January 12 Hunter Stadium Kick-off 7.45pm Tickets from PROticket

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