Wheelhouse to wear the Jets armband

A fit and firing Jobe Wheelhouse crowned the best pre-season of his career when named today as the Newcastle Jets captain for 2011-12.

A fit and firing Jobe Wheelhouse crowned the best pre-season of his career when named today as the Newcastle Jets captain for 2011-12.

The honour reflects the 26-year-old's resolve to put setbacks behind him and assume a leading role in the Club's A-League ambitions.

At 16, the Toronto junior was rated among Northern Football's best prospects and nominated as an AIS scholarship holder. However, after playing in the 2003 World Youth Cup his progress was interrupted by a horror run of injuries that cost him almost two years of his senior career.

Determined that injury wouldn't derail his ambitions, since his 2003 debut Wheelhouse has made 94 appearances for the Jets. He counts among his eight goals one of the A-League's best ever, a wonder strike against Gold Coast in December 2009.

After delivering standout performances at the back end of season 2010-2011, Wheelhouse signed a new two-year deal.

The lengthy off-season may yet prove decisive in his development, as it has afforded the Club's physiotherapist staff the time to rehabilitate residual problems stemming from his injury history.

As a result, a renewed Wheelhouse has been in fine form during pre-season training and the Club's unbeaten run of trial matches.

In nominating the midfielder to wear the captain's armband, Jets coach Branko Culina has sent a message to ambitious young players treading the A-League pathway.

"Jobe has shown just how far a local product can go in fulfilling his dreams," Culina said.

"He's not only matured into an outstanding professional but one prepared to lead by example. He's a role model for every young player."