IT came as little surprise two of the youngest Newcastle Jets players were arguably the most popular with the kids on Wednesday.
Angus Thurgate and Joey Champness were kings of the kids at the club’s school holiday coaching clinic at Port Macquarie Regional Stadium.
Around 200 school-aged children were put through their paces by the A-League players – an important part of the club’s JetsTour of regional New South Wales.
Defender Nikolai Topor-Stanley said it was important for them to engage with the Mid North Coast community.
“We want to engage in the community up here; we count them as important fans and we want to give something back to the people of the Mid North Coast,” he said.
“The fans are the lifeblood of our game, they are one of the most important corner stones of our business so we want to give something back to the kids.”
The Mid North Coast football community will hope Lawrie McKinna, Ernie Merrick and the team again return in 12 months time as the relationship with the community grows.
“(These visits are) very important,” Topor-Stanley said.
“We want to give the opportunity to regional fans – not just in metro newcastle – that we can play in their backyard and give them a taste of A-League football.
“They’re an important part of our fanbase and we want to give them the opportunity every year to showcase some A-League football.”
Topor-Stanley was satisfied with his own performance in Tuesday night’s trial although fellow defenders Nigel Boogaard, Daniel Georgievski and Ivan Vujica all managed to get on the score sheet.
“I don’t really look at it in an individual way,” he said.
“I think I did my job, I got something out of the game, I got 45 minutes into my legs which was my first competitive match this pre-season.
“It was a good team performance, winning is a habit and we’re trying to create and build on last year to continue those performances.”