FRESHLY minted captain Matt Jurman knows what makes a championship team and is adamant the Newcastle Jets have the ingredients to challenge for the A-League title.
The Jets launch their campaign with an F3 derby against arch rivals the Central Coast at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday.
It will be the first time Jurman leads the new-look outfit out at home.
The former Socceroos defender is among 15 fresh faces at the Jets, but he has seen enough to be excited about their prospects.
"I have played in some great teams before," said Jurman, who won championships with Brisbane and Sydney FC. "You can see early on that something special is going to happen that year. For me, there are things here I can see. We haven't played too many games together but you can see the unity is there in the changeroom.
"All the players who have come in have bought into what we are trying to do.
"You can see in the games already that the boss has instilled a strong mentality in the team.
"For us as players, that is how we want to be known - hard working and never give up no matter the scoreline.
"But we always want to be on the front foot. We want to start the games at a high tempo. We think we have the players to do it.
"It is a big year for us and we feel we can do some really special things. For me there would be nothing better than lifting the trophy with this bunch of boys."
As well as forming combinations, the Jets have been adjusting to an up-tempo, aggressive game plan under coach Arthur Papas.
"It has been a really enjoyable pre-season. It is a great style of play," Jurman said. "There are already people saying we were good to watch on the weekend.
"It is only the start. We have a lot of progression in front of us. As the season goes on, we will get better and better. That is the exciting thing for us."
The Jets face a tough test first up. The Mariners were the surprise packet of last season. They have a new coach in Nick Montgomery, who captained the club, and will have the Mariners primed.
"We want to get three points," Jurman said. "Every week will be a tough game but we have confidence in our selves that we can three points every week.
"We are not afraid of anyone and we are excited to start the season on Sunday.
"It's a derby. Usually there is not much in them. It will be a battle. We have to win that battle first, then we can play our football."
Jurman, 31, has previously played for Sydney FC and Western Sydney and featured in 11 derbies, losing just once.
"I love derbies and have a pretty good record in them," Jurman said.
"This will be my first F3 derby and am excited to be playing in it at home. Hopefully it is a packed house and we can deliver three points for them."
Jurman is looking forward to the added responsibility of wearing the armband.
"It comes as you get older, you tend to want to help the younger boys," he said.
"I have the experience to help the young boys and hopefully lead them to success. It involves a bit more communication ... just trying to lead the boys, the best I can.
"I have a great bunch of boys to help me and a lot of leaders in the change room as well. For me, I think it will be quite easy and I'm looking forward to the job ahead."
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