North wary of Jets pilot
FOOTBALL: Brisbane Roar defender Jade North says his former mentor Mark Jones is the man to take Newcastle Jets forward and warns that his team cannot take them lightly when the sides clash at Hunter Stadium on Sunday.
Jones was an assistant when the Jets won the A-League grand final in 2008. North was part of that team and spent a lot of time with Jones during his four-year stay at the Jets.
"I always look forward to playing against Newcastle. I was there for a long time,” said North, who was born in the city.
"I think they (the Jets) have got the right man in charge now. I think he's going to put a bit of steel in the club.
"He was certainly a big part of when we won the championship in 2008. I have got a lot of respect for him and I know he will do a good job.
"The club is in good hands and we have to be very wary of them because he's a smart guy and he knows his football and will have them ready for us.”
North is expected to get the captain's armband for Sunday's clash, with Matt McKay to miss through suspension after his two yellow cards against Melbourne Victory.
"Matty's our captain and he's a big part of what we do here,” North said.
"He will be missed obviously but we have got a lot of depth with Jacob Pepper coming. He's nice and solid for that No.6 (holding midfield) position.
"He has been fantastic throughout the pre-season and and he will give us a lot of steel in midfield.
"As far as the captaincy is concerned it doesn't change anything I do. I pretty much play the same way I do every game. So nothing changes there.”
Newcastle suffered injuries to Daniel Mullen, Jason Hoffman and new Finnish striker Aleksandr Kokko in its 1-1 draw with reigning champion Adelaide United in round one.
North said that while that might cause the club some angst in the build-up to Sunday's game, he was sure there was cover if the trio did miss out.
The A-League season-opening round brought a single-round attendance record, with 106,365 people pouring through the turnstiles across the five matches in Brisbane, Wellington, Sydney, Perth and Newcastle over the weekend.
The total also broke the record for the highest round-one aggregate crowd in the 12 seasons of the competition, beating the previous best total of 100,998 for the opening weekend of the 2013-14 season.
North said the crowd of more than 15,000 at Suncorp Stadium helped the team in its late comeback against Victory.
"A record attendance throughout the whole competition is fantastic for the game,” he said.
"It just shows that it's growing in numbers and it's going from strength to strength.
"It was great to see our fans come out like that again and hopefully we showed them again what we are about.”