Jets’ boss hails matchwinner Thurgate

Newcastle Jets will embrace the challenge of a potentially gruelling A-League Men schedule, with coach Arthur Papas saying their latest match-winner Angus Thurgate has the potential to be a prolific goalscorer.

Thurgate’s powerful strike earned Newcastle a 2-1 home victory in wet and windy conditions on Thursday and lifted them three positions from last to ninth.

The Jets have gone from a dearth of games – none in six weeks – to a glut, with seven squeezed into 28 days.

That period started with last Sunday’s game against Adelaide which they lost after leading at the 87-minute mark and they had to back up four nights later against Brisbane.

“We work extremely hard on the field and that’s not going to change, so we’re actually going to embrace it because we can grow from that kind of challenge,” Papas said.

“To back up today is testament to the group and the belief that they’ve got in each other and what we’re trying to do.

“I’m just really happy for the boys that they get to get a reward because that was a bitter pill to swallow on Sunday night considering how good the performance was.

“Then you probably don’t play as well (against Brisbane) but you show different qualities, qualities that you need in terms of the resilience to come back from a setback, to deal with the (short) turnaround.”

Midfielder Thurgate, who turns 22 next Tuesday, has scored just a handful of goals for Newcastle in more than 70 league games.

The man dubbed the Port Macquarie Pele gave away a first-half penalty, which Brisbane’s Jay O’Shea missed, but then atoned with his high quality finish.

“I don’t for certain know that was a penalty or not and I’ll review it, but to then go and score that great goal that he scored and really lift when the team needed him is testament to him,” Papas said.

“Gus is the type of player that hasn’t hit anywhere near his ceiling yet and I’m hopeful he keeps working hard and really realises how far he can go in the game.

“Today, he’s been able to impact the game at the end in a very positive manner, but it’s about how you back it up consistently and I believe he’s got a lot of goals in his game.

“We’ve built a type of playing style that suits him as well in terms of giving him the freedom to get forward at every chance and get into those positions.”

Newcastle face Perth in Wollongong next Wednesday.

“Our best result was 4-0 against Wellington and then the following week we didn’t back that up, so the challenge for this group of men right now is to do everything right to make sure that come next Wednesday we’re better than we were tonight and not just in result, in performance.”