Wheelhouse: Van Egmond loyalty a boost for Jets
Newcastle Jets skipper Jobe Wheelhouse says Gary van Egmond's decision to reject an offer to coach Sydney FC has provided a boost for the club.
Traditionally, the town of Newcastle has been seen as a 'country cousin' to the New South Wales capital of Sydney and in the past young Jets such as Mark Bridge and Stuart Musalik have been lured by lucrative offers to join the Sky Blues.
However, Wheelhouse said the news that van Egmond had rejected an offer to join their bitter rivals proves that the club is just as strong as any in the A-League.
"I think so," Wheelhouse said. "It is a bit surprising for us, but it is good that he's staying with us. He's got a contract here and he's going to fulfill it, so it is good for us.
"It is a pretty tough job in Sydney but he is a good coach so I can see why they would want to poach him."
Wheelhouse said that van Egmond's decision to stay also shows that the club are united in their vision to build a powerhouse for the future.
"We're trying to implement what he's trying to do, we've always done that and he's always had our backing," Wheelhouse said of the coach.
"We're doing quite well and we're trying to build things for the future.
"We've got quite a young squad and he's brought a lot of those players here so I don't see why he'd want to abandon them now.
"We are trying to build for the future we could have gone out and bought 28-year-old established players but it probably wouldn't have done anything for us in the long run."
On the field, the Jets captain acknowledged that they will have to address their defensive issues if they are to compete for the title this year.
Newcastle have conceded 16 goals in just eight matches this season and a clean sheet is one of the key focuses this week ahead of their Round 9 clash with the Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.
"We're sitting in equal third on the ladder and that's not a disaster by any means," said Wheelhouse.
"But it's been well documented that we haven't had a clean sheet and that's what we're trying to implement.
"We want to keep clean sheets and it makes it easier for our front boys to not have to score three or four goals every game."