The current lockdown and restrictions have affected all households and families throughout the region and the Newcastle Jets have been no different.
The A-League squad has been working hard on the field, putting in the work under new Manager, Arthur Papas, to make sure they’re more than ready for the upcoming season.
The same effort has been demonstrated off the field too, as the team have been doing their best to gel with one another in a time of such uncertainty and isolation.
For Jordan O’Doherty, who joined the Club at the back end of last season, the team and staff are developing a culture of ‘togetherness’ away from football, that he believes will only translate to combinations whilst on it.
“It’s important for us for everyone to be ‘together’,” O’Doherty said. “Not only just on the pitch, but off the pitch as well.
“There’s many of us who can’t see our families so we are each other’s families at the moment.
“If you’re a tight knit group off the pitch it’ll transfer onto it.”
While COVID restrictions has made his recent permanent move to Newcastle a rather strange and atypical one, the energy amongst the group have been displaying at training has created a “good environment to be in.”
“We’re building a good culture,” he said.
“We’re very fortunate to still be doing our job, hopefully we can get out back to normal sooner rather than later and I can get out an enjoy Newcastle because I haven’t been able to properly with this lockdown yet.
“Competition for spots and hard training makes for a good environment.”
So far in his career, the 23-year-old has played in multiple roles throughout midfield when playing for Adelaide United, Western Sydney Wanderers and now the Jets.
With Papas and his coaching staff bringing in a whole new style of play this season, O’Doherty isn’t getting familiar with just one role. Instead, he’s anticipating rotating in several.
“It’s going to be dynamic,” he said.
“All positions in the midfield, for me, are going to be good. Anywhere I can fit, I hope to do the job.
“Hopefully I can establish myself as a player who plays lots of games.”
Having re-signed back in June, O’Doherty returns to the team as part of a large contigent of youngsters, however, there’s numerous experienced heads in the side also.
New league veterans such as Jordan Elsey and Matthew Jurman join the likes of Jason Hoffman and Jack Duncan, and combined with the youth in the squad, the midfield maestro is confident the mix is beneficial.
“You always need a mixture of both young and old,” he said. “Experienced heads and youthful energy.”
“Everyone is on the same page and striving towards the same goal.
“Whether young or old, if you’re doing the right things at training you’ll get your opportunity and that’s the kind of culture we’re building here.”