Younger Jets to be tested against Rockdale

Gary van Egmond will use tomorrow's trial match against Rockdale as an opportunity to test the younger Jets players.

Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets head coach Gary van Egmond says he will use Tuesday night-s trial match against the Rockdale City Suns at Ilinden Sports Centre as an opportunity to give more playing time to some of the younger members of the Jets squad.

Van Egmond said he would be leaving a handful of senior players out of the squad for the Rockdale match to ensure they are well rested for the game against Wellington Phoenix at Thomas and Coffey Park in Weston on Saturday.

“It gives us a bit of a chance to see a few players in certain positions, so a couple of the younger ones will probably see a bit more game time,” van Egmond explained.

“We-re trying to balance the game time in the pre-season to ensure that everyone gets enough game time prior to the beginning of the season.

“We also don-t want to flog people too much. It-s important just to get that balance.”

Tiago Calvano, Josh Mitchell and Ryan Griffiths are among those likely to sit Tuesday-s game out, while Dominik Ritter (quadriceps) and Joshua Brillante (hip flexor) will be unavailable due to injury.

Van Egmond said the match will be another good chance to get more game time into the legs of captain Jobe Wheelhouse, who missed the start of pre-season training due to foot surgery.

“Jobe will get at least 45 minutes and then we-ll have a look towards the weekend,” van Egmond said.

“With two games in a week we don-t want to overcook him, but we-ll give him 45, maybe 60 minutes and then on the weekend we-ll have a look again.”

Rockdale currently sit in sixth place in the New South Wales Premier League competition and van Egmond said he was expecting the home side to provide the Jets with one of their toughest tests of the pre-season so far.

“We welcome that to ensure we have some good competition,” he said.

“It will be a good run for some of these younger ones. We-ve played against the NBN State League teams and it-s been good for a lot of the younger ones to get that experience of playing against men.

“The level of the game you would expect is going to be a little bit higher in the NSW Premier League than in the NBN State League competition so it will be another tough match for us.”

Match details: Newcastle Jets v Rockdale City Suns Ilinden Sports Centre Tuesday, August 14 Kick-off 7pm.