Newcastle Jets heading to Taree

Lucas Mepham will be one of five Taree players involved in the trial match against Newcastle next Tuesday evening in Port Macquarie.

Lucas Mepham will be one of five Taree players involved in the trial match against Newcastle next Tuesday evening in Port Macquarie.

THERE’S a strong possibility the Newcastle Jets A-League football club could play an FFA Cup match in this area should next week’s visit to the Mid North Coast be successful.

Football Mid North Coast chairman Mike Parsons said the response to a trial game between the Jets and two Football Mid North Coast selections next Tuesday night at Port Macquarie Regional Stadium could determine if this happens and whether the club regularly ventures to this area.

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“There's a fair bit riding on the match,’’ Mr Parsons said on Friday Sport Talk on the Manning River Times Facebook page last week.

Mr Parsons said the visit is also a great opportunity for the Jets to build their supporter base on the Mid North Coast.

“They realise that in the past they’ve been a bit Newcastle-centric,’’ he said.

“There’s still not a lot of young people who identify with an A-League club and this is a chance for the Jets to establish a following here, particularly as we’re so close to Newcastle.’’

Mr Parsons assured negotiations between Football Mid North Coast and the Jets will continue after next week’s visit with the view of getting the club back here on a more regular basis. He wouldn’t rule out the possibility of the FFA Cup fixture being played at a southern venue in the FMNC area should negotiations be successful.

The Jets will arrive in Taree on Monday and that afternoon will be involved in a coaching clinic for juniors at Omaru Park. Mr Parsons said this was over-subscribed within hours of being announced.

“We only had places for 200 kids, but we stretched this to 249,’’ he said.

The squad heads to Port on Tuesday and will appear at a function that morning as well as visiting schools. They’ll tackle northern and southern Football Mid North Coast teams that evening at the Port Macquarie Regional Stadium, with the local sides playing a half each.

Jonathon Newman from Tuncurry-Forster is the southern coach with Taree’s Rod Bartley his assistant. Taree players Jordan Howard, McCabe Grass, Lucas Mepham, Josh Morris and Sean Poli-Cini have been named in the southern squad, with Morris a late inclusion. The game will start at 7pm.

The southern side for Tuesday’s game is: Reyne Blake (Wallis Lake), Jake Camilleri (Tuncurry-Forster), Codey Chick (Tuncurry-Forster), McCabe Grass (Taree), Jordan Howard (Taree), Curtis Jones (Tuncurry-Forster), Ben Maikin (Camden Haven), Lucas Mepham (Taree), Josh Morris (Taree), Joseph Newman (Tuncurr-Forster), Sean Poli-Cini (Taree), Blair Smith (Tuncurry-Forster), Lachlan Swan (Camden Haven), Roan Whiteman (Wallis Lake).