The Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets defeated the NBN State League Select 3-0 in a pre-season trial match at Jack McLaughlan Oval on Wednesday.
James Virgili scored a brace before half-time courtesy of two assists from Mitchell Oxborrow, while Kale Bradbery added a third from the penalty spot after the interval to seal a comfortable win for the Jets.
Jets head coach Gary van Egmond said he was pleased with what his side got out of the contest.
“It was a good hit-out for us from the perspective we need to get tested at a higher level,” van Egmond said.
“We went to a diamond in the midfield with three at the back and to the boys’ credit they readjusted and scored a couple of goals.
“Last year we probably would have played more minutes with the boys, but we probably felt they were too advanced early on in the season in comparison to what they should have been.
“We’re monitoring that very closely this year to make sure we’re peaking at the right time.”
Boosted by the return of Scott Neville and Andrew Hoole to the starting line-up, the Jets wasted no time getting on the front foot, with Brandon Lundy hitting the crossbar inside the first five minutes after some neat lead-up work by James Vrigili.
The Jets continued to control the play, but were restricted to trying their luck from distance, with Vrigili, Oxborrow and Kantarovski all attempting long range shots at goal without any joy.
Down the other end, Peter Haynes had the NBN State League Select’s best chance of the first half, blasting a powerful strike just over the crossbar.
The Jets went close to taking the lead midway through the half, when Hoole played in Joey Gibbs. However, the striker could only hit his shot straight at the NBN State League Select goalkeeper.
The Jets did eventually hit the front in the 38th minute, when Virgili latched on to a perfectly weighted through ball from Oxborrow and calmly chipped the goalkeeper to give the Jets a 1-0 lead.
The pair linked up again for the Jets’ second goal of the match just minutes later.
Oxborrow’s delightful one-touch pass allowed Virgili to get in behind the NBN State League Select defence, before carefully picking his spot and firing the ball into the bottom corner of the net for a 2-0 advantage.
The Jets sealed the victory midway through the second half when youth team strike Kale Bradbery converted from the penalty spot.
Newcastle Jets 3 (Virgili 38', 40', Bradbery 70')
NBN State League Select 0