JASON Hoffman scored a first-half hat-trick as the Jets cruised to a 9-0 win over Mid North Coast in Port Macquarie on Tuesday night.
In their first appearance on Australian soil since the 2017/18 A-League decider, the Jets started slow before they warmed into the match.
Hoffman said it was “always nice to score goals and contribute to the result.”
“When I was younger I used to play up front and when I was really young I was a natural goalscorer,” he said.
“I guess as soon as Ernie came into the club and took over, he changed my mentality on certain runs I make and positions I need to get into.
“If you’re calm enough you can score a few and at the moment they’re going in which is great for the team.”
Assistant coach Clayton Zane said the fixture was a good hit-out and Hoffman’s ability to again find the back of the net was pleasing.
“He's definitely developed a lot of confidence from our season last year,” Zane said.
“He's shown that in pre-season and this year he's going to be an integral part of the team but also a major goalscorer.
“He's been sharp in training, scoring lots of goals and he capped that off tonight.”
A crowd of 4200 witnessed the match – a slight increase on last year’s attendance of 4100.
“For our boys to have a pre-season fixture so early and get such a big crowd, it’s a pat on the back for the people of the region,” Zane said.
“In terms of a hit-out it was a good contest, we were happy with the spirit the game was played in and I think everyone got something out of tonight’s fixture.”
Mid North Coast started well and didn't concede their first goal until the 14th minute.
Daniel Georgievski's left-footed strike from the edge of the area nestled in the bottom right corner which started a procession.
Hoffman added his hat-trick while captain Nigel Boogaard also found the back of the net twice.
Joey Champness was a constant threat on the left-hand side and scored a superb individual goal as the Jets took a 7-0 lead to the break.
Despite receiving a 10-match suspension, Roy O'Donovan had one goal disallowed for offside and another hit the outside of the right post.
As the trial was not an official A-League trial, competition match, or an FFA Cup fixture, O’Donovan was free to play.
He was eventually substituted in the 72nd minute.
Mid North Coast goalkeeper Jacob Lyttle was replaced midway through the first half after suffering a head knock.
He later returned.
At half-time, Ben Kantarovski, Boogaard, Nikolai Topor-Stanley, Hoffman and Daniel Georgievski were substituted.
Port Macquarie’s Angus Thurgate entered the fray for the second 45 minutes.
He marked his return to his old stomping ground with a left-footed strike from the edge of the area that bulged in the back of the net.
Ivan Vujica rounded out the scoring in the 80th minute before Joey Champness was substituted in the 82nd minute as a precaution after feeling tightness in his hamstring.
“There are no major issues for us, we're ready to go again and we'll have our full squad for the trip to Spain,” Zane said.
The Jets will head to Spain next Tuesday for a two-week pre-season tour.