Chapman benefits from teammates' support

Connor Chapman said the support of his teammates helped him to relax after a nervous beginning against Melbourne Heart.

Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets defender Connor Chapman said the support of his teammates helped him to relax after a nervous beginning to his first A-League starting appearance against Melbourne Heart last weekend.

Chapman gave away a penalty in the fifth minute of the match, which was converted by Heart striker Josip Tadic to put the home side 2-0 up.

But rather than dropping his head, the 18-year-old was able to maintain his composure and put in a solid performance for the remainder of the match as the Jets secured a 3-3 draw.

Chapman said the manner in which his teammates rallied behind him helped him to bounce back from the early mistake.

“All the senior boys were being very supportive of me after that point in the game,” Chapman said.

“I think that showed in my game because when you have the support of the older boys, it gives you more confidence and makes it a bit easier on you.

“You-ve just got to keep your head up and work for the team, because they-re working for you as well.

“I thought to myself 'I can-t just drop off here, I have to work for the boys and try to make up for it' and that-s what I tried to do.”

The young central defender admitted to being a bit anxious before staring his first match for the Jets.

“It was a bit nerve-wracking at the start and I think you could see that in my game, but I thought once I came into the game I did a little better and it-s good to get the first game out of the way,” Chapman said.

Speaking after the game, Jets head coach Gary van Egmond said he was impressed with Chapman-s performance.

“I thought young Connor did quite well overall, particularly in the second half, after a pretty nervous start,” van Egmond said.

“He'll get plenty of confidence from the game and he is only going to get more confident the more he plays at this level."

Chapman praised the character of the Jets to twice come from behind to snatch a point.

“It-s an away game and it-s not easy going 2-0 down in the first five minutes,” he said.

“The boys did really well to come back and get a point and we could have even won the game in the end.”

Chapman said he is focused on doing what he can to maintain his spot in the Jets- starting XI.

“It-s always been my plan to try and get that starting role and make it mine,” he said.

“I think after the weekend-s game, all I can do right now is work hard at training during the week and try to get another chance this weekend.”

Chapman and Jets forward Ryan Griffiths attended Mayfield East Primary School on Tuesday afternoon to assist with the University of Newcastle-s SCORES program.

The program aims to promote healthy lifestyles and physical activity amongst school-aged children.

“It-s good to come to schools and teach the students about being active,” Champan said.

“Playing sport is a great way to stay healthy and make lots of new friends.”