How Jets could produce next ‘Magic of the Cup’ moment without a single player on the pitch

By day, he’s working for Newcastle Jets. By night, he’s playing in the NPL.

On Wednesday night, sports scientist Andy Pawiak will attempt to take down one of Newcastle’s Isuzu UTE A-League rivals when NPLM NNSW side Edgeworth face Western United in the Australia Cup Round of 32.

“I’ll be there at Jets (training) in the morning and then I’ll jet off to ready to play,” he told KEEPUP.

Pawiak, who looks at GPS data, generates reports for the head of high performance and plans warm-ups, will have plenty of support at Jack McLaughlan Oval with all of the Jets players and staff set to be in attendance.

There will be a reunion for the former Jets youth-team player too, with ex-Newcastle star Angus Thurgate in line to make his Western bow after his off-season switch.

“(I’m) definitely looking forward to it. I’ve known Angus for a long time,” he said.

“As I was leaving the youth team, Angus was coming through. I’ve known him for a very long time. I know the quality of player he is. I’ll relish the challenge.”

Could we see him on the scoresheet against the 2021-22 A-League Men champions?

“I wouldn’t be banking on myself scoring. I’d say one every five years,” he joked.

Pawiak played for Newcastle’s youth team between 2013 and 2016 and was a full-time member of the 2015-16 A-League Men squad.

After that, Pawiak spent an “interesting” period abroad, playing for top-flight Filipino club Ilocos United in their inaugural season in 2017.

“There was a lot of buzz around that moment,” he added. “The club was formed the year I played for them. There was a lot of excitement. Everyone had only met each other prior to that.

It is where he made his professional bow before a stint with current Jets keeper Michael Weier at NPLM VIC outfit Hume City the following year.

“It wasn’t easy living away from home but it was made easier with coaching staff speaking English,” he recalled.

“The playing conditions and weather was a lot different. It took an adjustment period. It was certainly an interesting experience to say the least.”

Edgeworth are through to the Australia Cup Round of 32 for the first time since 2019 and the fifth time overall; they have won two of their last three fixtures at this stage (L1), keeping a clean sheet on the day in each of those two wins.

The Eagles enter the blockbuster showdown sixth in NPLM NNSW and they boast 41-year-old ex-Central Coast Mariners and Melbourne City full-back Josh Rose.

Pawiak and Josh Rose.

Former Olyroo Jacob Pepper, who previously played for the Jets, Wanderers and Brisbane Roar, also calls Edgeworth home.

“The whole magic of the cup and NPL clubs have been bridging the cap to the A-League recently. Everyone saw with Sydney United reaching the final last season,” Pawiak said.

“Even more recently with Peninsula Power pushing Wellington all the way.

“There’s definitely a belief in the group that we can pull something off but we all understand we have to be at our best to do that.”