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Saturday, November 24, 2012
Jets aiming to mend defence

Guy Hand

Newcastle Jets coach Gary Van Egmond has vowed to work with his young backline rather than go shopping to stop his A-League club's defensive haemorrhaging.

Van Egmond believes the Jets won't be serious championship threats until they address their constant shipping of goals.

They have conceded six in two matches, but the three they allowed against Melbourne Heart at AAMI Park on Saturday night weren't as costly as they might have been - the Jets pinching a late equaliser for a 3-3 draw.

Sitting well up the table with their defence the only real issue, the Jets could be forgiven for eyeing the transfer window in January to turn themselves into gilt-edged title chances.

But Van Egmond believes working with what he has is the right way forward for the Jets.

"We've made a pretty decent pact that the young kids we've brought in, we'll develop them," Van Egmond said.

"We're pretty committed to these kids coming through and that's something as the Newcastle Jets coach and Newcastle Jets club that we stand for."

The Jets committed defensive suicide twice inside the first five minutes - Scott Neville gifting Heart's Richard Garcia a goal in 33 seconds, and youngster Connor Chapman giving away a clumsy penalty soon after.

But from 2-0 down, the Jets fought doggedly in the second half to level the scores, fall behind again, then win a late penalty which Ryan Griffiths converted to take a share of the points.

The Jets have won just once in their past four matches, but still remain in the top six and on their day have shown they will test any side in the competition.

Yet Van Egmond knows his side's inconsistency remains a worry.

"Performance-wise the game pretty well sums up our season. We've had some poor performances within the year and we've done some really good things in regard to our performance.

"We're pretty inconsistent, but the one thing for sure is there's no way known we're going to be serious title challengers while we concede the amount of goals we're conceding."

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