Newcastle captain Nigel Boogaard says season 2016/17 will be a failure if the Jets miss out on a finals berth.
Newcastle shrugged off its off-season dramas by putting in a strong showing in front of home fans with a hard fought 1-1 draw against reigning champions Adelaide United.
And although the Jets haven’t qualified for finals since 2009/10, Boogaard believes this campaign will be different.
“This year the players have definitely set their sights on finishing off in the finals, and anything less than that will be a failure for us,” he said to FourFourTwo.
“It’s about maintaining focus, week to week, session to session and making sure that come finals time we are cementing our place within the top six.”
New signings Andrew Nabbout and English import Wayne Brown made an instant impact for the Novocastrians in combining for the Jets' opening goal.
And while the Reds fought back to even the contest, Boogaard said his troops had enough firepower to challenge for end of season honours.
“It’s very much a different dynamic than we had last year,” he said. “That goes back to the belief that we’ve got in the change room with the squad we’ve got the ability that we can do something.
“With Andrew Hoole back he’s a local boy, he’s had some great form in pre-season and we are going to see a lot out of him. As to Andrew Nabbout he’s very powerful and he’s got a great finish on him. Devante Clut is a number 10, he’s got this natural flair which you don’t see a lot in Australian players anymore that creativity
"When you combine them with the imports we've got Morten Nordstrand from the latter half of last year - Wayne Brown who has come with a great pedigree from overseas and in Europe he’s a cultured player and very hard working.
“Our big man up front Koko, he’s going to be a hand full for defences around the league he can throw himself around but he’s very tidy on the ball. “
Newcastle CEO Lawrie McKinna echoed Boogaard’s confidence stating the side was capable of higher honours in the near future.
“We want to be qualifying for the Asian Cup after three seasons,” he said to FourFourTwo. “That’s what the Chairman and that’s what the owners want. I know that the coaches know that. If we scrape in the finals this year we want to be in the finals the year after and we want to be challenging for an Asian Champions League spot at the end of the third year.”
“The club is screaming out for a team that represents the area, they want team that engages with the local community they want a team that’s going to be competitive.”