NEWS: Miller tips competition for places in 2016/17

Newcastle Jets players, coaches and staff convened upon Ray Watt Oval at the University of Newcastle on Monday morning as the club’s Hyundai A-League 2016/17 pre-season officially got underway.

New players including Wayne Brown, Andrew Hoole, Devante Clut and Daniel Alessi, new staff including Luciano Trani, plus many members of last season’s group started their journey towards the twelfth season of the Hyundai A-League, which for the Jets kicks off on Sunday 9 October 2016 against reigning Champions Adelaide United at Hunter Stadium.

While the Jets’ season opener against the Reds may still be over 100 days away, the club has a range of activities planned and in the planning for the coming months, including #JetsTour2016 encompassing a visit to Tamworth and its surrounds, a tour to China to play up to three friendly matches, and a number of other pre-season games.

The Jets’ first day on the training track was captured by club photographer Grant Sproule from Sproule Sports Focus. Click here to view the full training gallery.

After the completion of Monday’s session, Jets Head Coach Scott Miller spoke with local press, telling them that he expects competition for game time to be rife this season.

“The dynamic of the players we have brought in, especially their age profile, is very exciting,” Miller said.

“We’ll have [up to] nine hit outs where we can be flexible with [the player’s] game time.”

“The squad is very hungry, and I think they are getting to know each other quickly.”

“Generally footballers can identify a quality footballer immediately, and I think the players that have come have had a good impact.”

“There is going to be competition [for places] and that’s dangerous, dangerous for our opponent because if you have squad depth and that competitive edge to your squad, that can only lead to us having a very demanding year on each other.”

Miller joked that he had to reintroduce likeable attacker Labinot Haliti to the group after his lengthy stint away from first team training due to injury.

Positively, Haliti joined the main group for around 75 per cent of Monday’s session, and will continue to build up the strength in his body after his season ended prematurely last campaign due to an Anterior Cruciate Ligament injury.

“I reintroduced him [Haliti] to the squad this morning and asked him some key questions about why he is here, so there is a bit of banter about Labi,” Miller quipped.

“It’s nice to see him out there. I have asked him to enjoy the first few weeks and not to put too much pressure on himself,” he said.