THE Newcastle Jets will get their first chance to impress new coach Arthur Papas in an intraclub hit out at Speers Point today and Mo Al-Taay, for one, can't wait.
Al-Taay is among a host of untried players and trialists who will feature in the clash against the Jets youth team.
The 21-year-old defensive utility joined the Jets from Western Sydney for an opportunity and is keen to make a strong first impression.
"I feel like coming here is an opportunity to prove myself," Al-Taay said. "I am going to work hard in the pre-season and make sure when my chance comes that I take it. Every day, I want to get better and better and prove that I am ready for the next level."
From Campbelltown, Al-Taay spent four years in the Western Sydney Wanderers academy. He captained the youth team in the Sydney NPL 2 competition and was their player of the year.
He was signed to a scholarship contract in January but is yet to make his A-League debut.
"That's football," Al-Taay said. "There are a lot of good young players at Western Sydney. You just have to be patient and consistent and make sure that when your chance comes that you prove yourself."
Jets assistant coach Arthur Diles was the youth team coach at Wanderers before he headed to Greece last year and Al-Taay said reuniting with his former boss was part of the attraction to the Jets.
"Him coming here was a positive for me," said Al-Taay, who can play as a defensive midfielder, right back or centreback. "The relationship between us is good. He is very similar to the way the boss (Papas) wants to play. I feel like I can learn off both of them."
A Campbelltown product, Al-Taay has moved away from home for the first time and feels it's time to stand on his own feet.
"I have lived in Campbelltown my whole life," he said. "It is a lot quieter here. I feel like I am settling in well. I am growing every day. I'm 21 now and feel like I have to take the next step and prove myself."
The Jets have been training for two weeks.
"It is very intense. I am still getting used to it, but I am loving it," he said. "We are working hard and getting the most out of each other."
As well as Al-Taay, promising centreback Riley Warland will make his first appearance in a Jets shirt.
A host of trialists, including 2020-21 squad members Apostolos Stamatelopoulos and Jack Armson, will also feature.
The Jets will play a second trial against the youth team next Saturday. However the FFA Cup qualifier against Western United set for August 8 has been postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions.
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