Newcastle Jets gloveman Jack Duncan has piled praise on the Club’s skipper Nigel Boogaard ahead of Saturday’s clash with Wellington Phoenix in New Zealand.
Duncan, who is in his second stint at the Jets, believes the settling presence and leadership Boogaard has shown in the opening rounds of the competition has been huge for the team, especially considering the numerous changes that have had to be made to the side’s backline due to injury.
“I can’t speak highly enough of him,” Duncan told reporters following the team’s final training session on Australian soil on Thursday.
“He (Boogaard) has been absolutely amazing these first few games and it really speaks to his quality.”
“He is a real leader out there and I think all the back four and myself really appreciate having him there (because) he is fantastic to play with.”
“It comes down to communication and I think ‘Boogs’ is a big part of that with the leadership he provides,” he said.
Boogaard and Duncan are set to take to the field as teammates for the fifth straight time this weekend when the Jets challenge the ‘Nix at Westpac Stadium in Hyundai A-League 2016/17 round 5.
Along with Nick Cowburn the pair have been consistent presences in defence for the Jets so far this campaign.
While Newcastle has only ever managed three wins from 15 matches in New Zealand, the Club is undefeated in its last four matches against the ‘Nix, and in fact won all three encounters between the two teams last term.
Duncan, who made his Hyundai A-League starting debut for Perth Glory in the land of the long white cloud believes the Jets have the personnel and plan to achieve a positive result across the Tasman on Saturday.
“They (Wellington Phoenix) were unlucky not to get the win against Sydney (in round 3) and I am sure that they will be looking to bounce back after a disappointing result on Monday (against Melbourne Victory),” Duncan said of Newcastle’s opponents. “They have got some good players. Look at (Kosta) Barbarouses and (Roy) Krishna, the midfield in (Michael) McGlinchey, (Gui) Finkler, (Roly) Bonevacia.”
“It is a tough place to go but I think with the game plan that we got and the players that we have got we can get a result there,” he said.
Duncan is relishing the opportunity to play extended minutes in the Jets’ first team.
“That’s why I came back here, to hopefully get some games in and get a good run at it,” he said.
“I am looking to build on my performances so far and solidify my position.”
“Whoever comes in to challenge will be good, but I am just hoping to do my job and help the team out the best way that I can.”
Newcastle Jets Squad vs. Wellington Phoenix: 3. Jason HOFFMAN, 4. Nigel BOOGAARD (C), 6. Steven UGARKOVIC, 7. Andrew HOOLE, 8. Mateo POLJAK, 9. Aleksandr KOKKO, 10. Wayne BROWN, 11. Labinot HALITI, 13. Ivan VUJICA, 15. Andrew NABBOUT, 16. Nicholas COWBURN, 19. Morten NORDSTRAND, 20. Jack DUNCAN (gk), 23. Devante CLUT, 27. Caio DE GODOY, 28. Johnny KOUTROUMBIS, 40. Noah JAMES (gk) *one to be omitted*
Ins: 15. Andrew NABBOUT (returns from injury), 11. Labinot HALITI (promoted), 40. Noah JAMES (gk) (promoted)
Outs: 5. Ben KANTAROVSKI (knee - 1-3 weeks), 30. Pierce CLARK (gk) (ankle - 1 week)
Unavailable: 1. Ben KENNEDY (gk) (achilles - season), 2. Daniel MULLEN (knee - indefinite), 5. Ben KANTAROVSKI (knee - 1-3 weeks), 21. Daniel ALESSI (knee - season), 22. Lachlan JACKSON (ankle - indefinite), 30. Pierce CLARK (gk) (ankle - 1 week)
Wellington Phoenix vs. Newcastle Jets - Hyundai A-League 2016/17 Round 5
When: Saturday 5 November 2016
Where: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Kick-off: 7:35pm (local); 5:35pm (AEDT)
Social Media: Join the match conversation using #WELvNEW & #TogetherWeCanSoar
Broadcast: Watch LIVE on FOX SPORTS 505