The third annual Jets: Tour fuelled by Greater Bank will wrapped up in Singleton on Friday.
Last week the full Newcastle Jets first team squad has took part in a variety of community engagement initiatives around Northern New South Wales.
#JetsTour17 commenced in Taree on Monday 14 August when the team held a Clinic for over 240 kids at Omaru Park.
The trip then moved on to Port Macquarie, where Ernie Merrick, Lawrie McKinna, Roy O’Donovan & Nikolai Topor-Stanley took part in a breakfast function. An intense training session followed, before half the squad visited six schools in and around Port Macquarie.
On Tuesday night the Jets played Football Mid North Coast’s select squad - a game they won 7-0. Over 4,000 people ventured to the friendly at Port Macquarie’s Regional Stadium - an outstanding response from the local community.
Wednesday morning saw the team make the transition to Tamworth. On arrival in Australia’s country music capital the Jets held a training session at Scully Park.
Wednesday afternoon in Tamworth was dedicated to the kids - the full squad holding a Clinic for 180 kids at Gipps Street Sporting Fields.
On Thursday morning the Jets trained again - coach Merrick was keen to again test his players under fatigue in Thursday night’s second match of the tour against Northern Inland Football’s (NIF) best players.
Approximately 1,200 fans came out on a chilly Thursday evening in Tamworth to see the Jets win 16-0 against the NIF Select squad. Irish marksman O’Donovan claimed an impressive double-hat-trick.
On Friday morning the team held their final training session of the trip - again on the pristine Scully Park surface - before traveling to Howe Park in Singleton to meet more kids.
Merrick believes the journey, initiatives and matches have been beneficial to his squad, and the Club.
“We were very proud to come up here and play the local sides here (in Tamworth) and in Port Macquarie,” Merrick said. “We’ve learned a lot from it. We practiced our combinations and the players we played against will remember it, I think.”
“We could easily have taken our foot off the pedal but we wanted to show that we can score goals. We are practicing for the (Hyundai) A-League and it doesn’t matter who we are up against we want to play quality football.”
“These two games up in the country have been good but we really need to start performing against A-League sides. We have got those lined up for our run in to the start of the season on the seventh of October,” he said.