Newcastle Jets have caused titanic waves within the A-League Men competition this season under new coach Arthur Papas, playing a total football approach that only Melbourne City fall close to.
The Jets have impressed immensely with their emphasis on attacking, possession-based football, building out from the back and relying on positional rotations and a moving into space following passing – something which has seen them have the highest average possession, most accurate passes and the tied most goals (all per match).
The Jets’ high risk, high reward strategy when passing out from defence has made for some beautiful sequences of play, and the youth side, playing in Football NSW’s State League Three Men’s, is set to follow suit.
The total football approach in League 3 is set to make for a highly exciting experience for fans of the division, with the Jets looking to top the table once again after finishing first last campaign.
Adam Zervas, part of Newcastle’s midfield, impressed last campaign, scoring seven goals in 13 games, and is enjoying the new style of play influenced by Papas.
“There’s been a decent change throughout the style – it’s a lot more aggressive and attacking,” said Zervas.
“But compared to other A-League Men seasons where the first team sort of sit back, they really want to go and try and take the game to the other team, and that’s what we’re trying to do as well.”
Zervas hasn’t found the new style too challenging, with training in the first team helping his knowledge of movements.
“Being involved in the first-team training has been really good for getting those position tips off the older players,” he said.
“It’s been good to get that help through training with the first team and so it gives me a sort of better idea of where I want to be on the pitch.”
Meanwhile, Zervas has relished the new style of play and is enjoying the positive effects it will have over his career, as an 18-year-old coming through the ranks of Newcastle’s academy.
“I’ve been enjoying it a lot,” he said.
“The new boss (Papas) has come in and changed a lot of things around, brought new players in, and everything’s high at the moment, everybody’s loving it.
“It’s a really attacking style of football and is really enjoyable to play in.
“This season alone, the big change in style has taught me a lot already.
“About how to adapt in a short amount of time and to just stay focused, do your job and make the coaches happy.”
The youngster is ready for another good campaign in the new tactical setup which he hopes will be topped off by a few appearances in the first team.
And he isn’t holding back for the future, saying the sky’s the limit over the course of his career.
“This season I’m trying to push myself to break into that A-League Men first team and prove to the coaches where I’m at,” he said.
“And career-wise, the sky’s the limit in my eyes.
“I want to be like a future Premier League player and I want to have really high goals and expectations for myself.
“But it’s one step at a time at the moment.”
For now, the total football brand is set to light up League 3, with their clash against Parramatta FC in their first game of the season on Sunday, the 13th of March becoming ever more enticing.
-By Jack George (@JackGeorge0004)