New signing for the Jets, goalkeeper Jack Duncan, said “it’s good to be back” after completing his first training session with the squad on Monday.
Day one was an exciting one for Duncan who was immersed in the culture of the club and reunited with old teammates during his first session.
Duncan kicked off pre-season with the determination and motivation to achieve his goal of establishing himself as first choice goalkeeper in the squad.
“Before I was behind ‘Vuka’ [Danny Vukovic at Perth Glory] who was an established number one [goalkeeper], when I moved overseas I was behind an established number one who was the best keeper in the league, so I’ve been a little unfortunate with my moves so far,” Duncan said. “I’ve done my apprenticeship, so to speak.”
“Being in Europe around a very competitive environment definitely pushed me and improved me very quickly, and I can feel that now coming back here.”
While it was the squad’s first training session for the season, it was also Duncan’s first time working with Jets goalkeeper coach Jess Vanstrattan, who has already started making improvements to his game.
“I’ve been working with Jess, it’s the first session working together, and every goalkeeper coach has his own ideas and own philosophies,” he said. “The things he’s picked up on already are positive things and I really enjoyed working with him.”
Duncan had a three-year tenure with the Jets between 2010 and 2013, which helped him settle in with squad, having already played with several of his new teammates.
“A lot of the boys here, guys like ‘Kanta’ [Ben Kantarovski] and ‘Labi’ [Labinot Haliti], were here when I first came up so it’s like coming home really,” Duncan explained.
Duncan has joined the Jets at a great time, with new ownership by the Ledman Group, headed by Martin Lee, offering the potential for expansion and development of the club in the coming season.
“It’s an exciting time,” he said. “You read rumours here and there over the last couple of months of new owners coming in and the new owners that have come in seem to be very positive and very excited to make a few little changes but keep the Newcastle ethic that is behind the club.”
“Everyone’s kind of buzzing to come into training every day and being a part of the club again, it’s really good.”
A tour of China is in the works in an effort to attract Chinese fans to the club, as well as a healthy pre-season roster set to challenge the squad and prepare them for a big Hyundai A-League campaign.
“Most of the games are against either [Hyundai] A-League opponents, or if we go to China it’s Chinese opposition, which are all going to be quality games,” Duncan said. “It’s a good chance to test ourselves but also prepare for the first game of the season and make sure we hit the ground running as a squad.”