Jets ready for pressure test

 
Jayke Cushieri, pictured against Northern Fury, is expecting a tough match on Saturday. Picture: Albert Perez

Show we deserve to be Premiers - Cushieri

THE PlayStation® 4 NPL Queensland Premiership race has come down to the final match of the regular season for Jets and Brisbane Strikers.
The league-leading Jets have the advantage going into this weekend’s catch-up fixtures, ahead of rivals Brisbane Strikers on goal difference and lining up against last-placed SWQ Thunder, who are yet to win a game in two seasons of PlayStation 4 NPL Queensland.
Conversely, Strikers have the advantage of a later kick-off and will know precisely how many goals they need against Northern Fury if they are to win their first silverware in the competition.
The winner of the Premiership title will advance to the PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues Finals Series, with the first match scheduled against the PlayStation 4 NPL Northern New South Wales Premiers Edgeworth Eagles.
Jets fullback Jayke Cuschieri, 21, said despite being considered favourites for their first ever title, he and his teammates will take nothing for granted against Thunder.
“To us it’s really just another game that we have to go out and show why we deserve to be the Premiers,” Cuschieri explained.
“It’s going to be hard game because Thunder have just come off the back of a flogging and the only way they can go out on a high is to get a win or a draw against the top team in the league.”
Cuschieri conceded while there will be pressure he has the experience to deal with it - including his recent debut run with the Malta Under 21 national team.
“Maybe a year ago, when I hadn’t had that experience, I might not be able to deal with the pressure as well,” he said.
“But in one of the fixtures I was involved with we played in front over 20,000 people watching us (against Poland). It is very intimidating but obviously the NPL doesn’t have that sort of attendance figures.”
With Jets only in their third year of operation, Cuschieri suggested that this season’s success may be the start of a long reign at the top for the club.
“The atmosphere around the club at late has been out of this world. It’s a really good place to be and I think having that trophy at the end of the day will make everything just that much better.”
“Moreton Bay is a club that’s really going to go somewhere in the next few years. Not only with the seniors but with the juniors as well,” he concluded
Strikers captain Michael Angus said that while goal difference may well decide the title his side will resist the temptation to attack at all costs against a Fury outfit now out of Finals Series contention.
The midfield playmaker, 25, pointed to last week’s five goal win over Sunshine Coast FC as evidence that his side have the resources to secure a big win without reinventing the wheel.
“I think from the weekend we’ve come off a good result and we didn’t change anything there,”
“Our approach will be the same, we like attacking football anyway, so we’ll go out and create the chances and it’s about converting those chances when we get them.”
Angus added that he didn’t think the pressure will affect his teammates in the final match of the league season - describing the clash as “just like any old game.”
“First and foremost it’s important we get the win. But we’ve dealt with other pressure situations throughout the year, so we’ll take it in our stride and give it a red-hot go.”
Strikers have been hit hard by injuries this season, including season-ending injuries to striker Jheison Macuace, defender Cameron Draper and goalkeeper Michael Weier.
However, Angus said Strikers won’t be making excuses if they do fall just short of the title.
“At semi-professional level injuries are going to happen just like at professional level and having depth is vitally important.”
“We have a strong policy of standing by the youth players and being able to promote them into the senior squad when we need them. That’s a credit to the players and the coaching staff and even higher up in the club,” he concluded.
Fixture details:
SWQ Thunder FC v Moreton Bay United FC
Commonwealth Oval, Toowoomba
Saturday, August 29
Kick-off at 5PM

Brisbane Strikers FC v Northern Fury FC
Perry Park, Brisbane
Saturday, August 29
Kick-off at 6PM
*This match will be LIVE STREAMED at www.nplqld.com.au

PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues Finals Series
PlayStation 4 NPL Queensland Premiers v PlayStation 4 NPL Northern New South Wales Premiers
QSAC, Brisbane
Saturday, September 19
Kick-off at TBA
*This match will be LIVE STREAMED at 
www.nplqld.com.au