AS the Jets searchforlornly for a drought-breaking goal, 100 of the region’s junior players are set to receive expert tuition from some of the best strikersin the business.
FINISHER: Joel Griffiths
EXPERIENCE: Jobe Wheelhouse
Former Jets skipper Jobe Wheelhouse will conducta three-day “finishing school’’next week at Finnan Oval, Blackalls Park, at which the guest mentorswill be Joel Griffiths, Daniel McBreen and David Lowe –two A-League Golden Boot winners and a former Socceroo respectively.
HOT SHOT: Daniel McBreen
Wheelhouse, Griffiths and McBreen scored 79 A-League goals between them in 325 games, while Lowe was regarded as one of the most skilful forwards of his erain the National Soccer League.
Their ability to find the net stands in stark contrast to Newcastle’s current strike force, who have been kept scoreless for 559 minutes, or six full games. If the Jets do not score in the first 47 minutes of their clash with Wellington Phoenix at Hunter Stadium on Sunday, they will surpass the A-League record, held by by the now-defunct New Zealand Knights, for the longest hiatus between goals.
Asked if his all-star coaching team could potentially help Newcastle’s forwards regain their mojo, Wheelhouse replied: “Probably not so much myself, but definitely Griffo, Daniel McBreen and Loweycould.
“Imagine having those guys in the same Newcastle team, hypothetically. They’d be lethal.
“I think it’s definitely an option that they could look at, bringing in some specialised coaching to improve that front third.
“From my own point of view, I was pretty much box to box, but those guys, they’re the real experts.’’
Wheelhouse, who retired from the A-League three years ago at just 27, scored only seven timesin 106 appearances but among them was one of the finest solo goals seen at Turton Road, a 25-metre rocket against Gold Coast in 2009.
Now playing for Lambton Jaffas, Wheelhouse said the Jets were “definitely having a real go’’ but seemed lacking in confidence.
“I guess it’s been an issue for the past six orseven weeks, not being able to find the net,’’ Wheelhouse said.
“Maybe it’s time to bring someone in to help with the front third. That’s one avenue they could look at.I’m sure the work ethic is there and they’re doing plenty of front-third work during the week.It’s just that when you’re in that type of slump –and I’ve been in teams before where we’ve stuggled to score goals –it’s hard to get out of it.’’
Wheelhouse launched his junior coaching schools soon after retiring from the A-League. Last year he teamed up with former Jets teammate and English Premier League star Michael Bridges to conduct a six-week course specifically for strikers.
With Bridges currently overseas, Wheelhouse enlisted the services of McBreen, Griffiths and Lowe for next week’s clinic, for children aged eight to 16.
“We’re pretty well at full capacity, in terms of numbers, so the interest is obviously there,’’ he said.