Two years on and still on Song
Korean midfielder Jin-Hyung Song is as dynamic as ever, two years to the day after the Jets' historic Grand Final victory.
It-s been quite the journey for Korean import Jin-Hyung Song since he joined the Newcastle Jets in January 2008.
Coming from 2006 K-League Cup Winners FC Seoul on a free transfer at the beginning of the Hyundai A-League 2008 Finals Series, Song became an instant hit with the Novocastrian faithful because of his sublime technique and flair on the ball.
The diminutive playmaker also caught the eye of the Jets- coaching staff immediately, as the newcomer started in the second leg of the Major Semi-Final against the Central Coast Mariners, and again a fortnight later when the Jets would claim their first Hyundai A-League Championship.
Indeed, it is now 2 years to the day since that unforgettable 1-0 Grand Final victory at the Sydney Football Stadium. Played in front of 36,354 vocal supporters, Song today recalled his memories of the club claiming its first piece of silverware.
“It was a great feeling that day,” he said. “I was just surprised, it was a Grand Final and I-ve never been in that situation before.”
“I-m always nervous before each game so for the Grand Final I was especially nervous but it was fantastic to win the way we did.”
The 22-year-old and his teammates now have their sights fixed on next Sunday-s sudden-death Semi-Final against Wellington Phoenix after boys from the Hunter dispatched glamour club Gold Coast United last weekend in a dramatic penalty shootout triumph.
Confronting the Jets on the trans-Tasman trip is the longest unbeaten home record in Hyundai A-League history, with the Phoenix claiming a result in every match at Westpac Stadium since October 26, 2008 - making it a remarkable 18 matches without defeat for the New Zealanders.
“It will be difficult, of course. It-s a long way from home for us, it-s a different time, different weather, but this is the finals so anything can happen, you have to expect anything.”
“It will be a real challenge for us,” Song explained.
Indeed, one of the greatest challenges for Newcastle at the ‘Cake Tin- will be containing Englishman Paul Ifill, who has impressed pundits and fellow players around the league with his performances this season.
The affable Song, though, believes that his side will also have an ace up their sleeve.
“(Ifill-s) been playing very, very well and he-s scored lots of goals, but we-ve got some of the biggest and best defenders in the A-League, I think. So they can mark him at that end, and we-ve got (Matt Thompson) 'Thommo' in attack and I reckon he will score,” he said.