Newcastle Jets skipper Nigel Boogaard says his side’s inability in the clutch moments to win games and defend better cost them big time in Season 13 of the A-League.
After finishing runners-up in last season’s Grand Final, much was made of the attack-minded Jets’ potential to go one step further this season.
That didn’t pan out as Perth Glory and Sydney FC - visitors to McDonald Jones for the Jets’ final match of the season on Saturday - both showed the consistency and quality needed at A-League level.
The Jets fell by the wayside and will have to be content with the seventh spot, missing out on Finals football once more.
The rebuild for Season 14 has begun with an eye-catching 6-1 win over Roar last week, but the post-mortem on the whole of Season 13 continues.
“Overall, consistency is something that has let us down,” the 32-year-old Jets skipper today (Friday).
“We were good in large patches of games but let ourselves down in key moments of games where we either conceded sloppy goals or didn’t take our chances.
“Overall, the year before, we may have taken those [chances] or maybe defended better in those crucial times.”
The season was also disappointing from a Continental perspective, missing out on a place in the Asian Champions League Group stage after Kashima Antlers thrashed the Jets 4-1 in a qualifier in Japan.
The Jets will have plenty of time to ponder this with A-League off-seasons arguably the longest in the world.
After tomorrow’s game with Sydney FC, the Jets don’t play a competitive league game till October - an arduously long five-month off-season.
Newcastle’s next challenge will be the FFA Cup kicking off in July/August - a tournament they have traditionally struggled in but one that offers some chance of redemption in 2019.
On a brighter note, younger names such as Joey Champness, Gus Thurgate, and Jack Simmons are set to play a more prominent role in the club's campaign to get back into the Finals Series in 2020.
“The youth coming through is exciting. A bright future for a lot of those kids.
“Overall, finding that consistency next year will be key,” added Boogaard.