Jets’ skipper, Nigel Boogaard will travel to Adelaide this weekend in what marks a significant milestone in his career – a 200th appearance in the Hyundai A-League.
As fate would have it, the defender will reach his double hundred in a city he called home for five years, having notched almost 100 appearances for Adelaide United.
“I spent some really good years in Adelaide, it’s a great city and they treated me well there – I was really able to develop and improve as a footballer,” said Boogaard.
“I’ve always enjoyed a nice reception there as an opponent, and it’s an interesting twist to have it pan out this way – hopefully we can head over there and get a result, which will only add to the occasion.”
Boogaard will join illustrious company, with only 23 other players reaching the 200 game mark in the 13 seasons of the Hyundai A-League.
His career was plagued by two false starts during his time at the Central Coast Mariners, where he was originally signed by then Head Coach and now Jets’ CEO, Lawrie McKinna.
“His first two seasons were severely impacted by illness and injury,” said McKinna.
“I initially signed him after some strong performances for Central Coast Lightning and I just always saw something in Nigel as a player, even from a young age.
“It was a tough start for him and he showed great resilience to bounce back so strongly, we persevered and reaped the rewards when he grew into a quality first team defender.”
Despite the frustrating start to his career, Boogaard was able to establish himself as one of the league’s premier defenders during his seasons with the Mariners.
“Getting Glandular Fever in that first season was tough, I’d think I was through it, end up relapsing and be in bed for weeks on end,” added Boogaard.
“To follow it up with a second season where I had Osteitis Pubis, I ended up playing about 13 minutes as a professional in two years – not the ideal start to a career.
“Credit to Lawrie who offered me another contract despite all that, where in many other instances I could have been shown the door.”
After establishing himself on the Central Coast, Boogaard signed with the Reds and would spend the next five seasons in the City of Churches.
Following his time in Adelaide, the Redhead junior returned to the Hunter on a three year deal – fulfilling a dream of playing for the Jets.
“I thought the opportunity had past me by to be honest, but to come home and represent my home town has been massive for me,” said Boogaard.
After taking the captain’s armband on his return to Newcastle, Boogaard has made 45 appearances as skipper of the club – breaking the previous record held by Rueben Zadkovich.
“To not only be able to play for the club, but to captain the Jets in the (Hyundai) A-League has been an absolute honour.
“Especially this year – to lead this group of boys – there’s a special feel around the group and hopefully this campaign can be a successful one.”
Jets’ Coach, Ernie Merrick said Boogaard has been leading from the front both on and off the pitch.
“This is a special achievement for Nigel, but to top it all off he’s playing some of his best football,” said Merrick.
“He’s a fantastic presence on the pitch, he works closely with our younger players and he’s been a great servant to the (Hyundai) A-League.”
The Newcastle Jets’ will take on Adelaide United on Saturday 11 November at Coopers Stadium, kick-off at 5.35pm (AEDT).
By the numbers:
- The most capped Jets’ skipper notching 45 games as captain of the club.
- In his 199 games, has played a total of 17,036 minutes, scoring 6 goals.
- 2012/13 All Star and Australian U17 and U23 representative.
- FFA Cup winner in 2014 (Adelaide) and A-League Premier in 2007/08 (Mariners).