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  • Cowburn gets old boy along for Jets reunion

    2018 - 07.03

    Players from the Emerging Jets Program Noah James of Whitebridge and Molly Arens of Redhead with Nick Cowburn of the Jets and former club captain and old boy Andy Roberts, promoting community round and old boys day. Pic: Ryan OslandSOME of Jets fullback Nick Cowburn’s earliest memories are of kicking a football on the hill at Breakers Stadium.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Nick’s dad, Brett, a foundation member of KB United, coached the Breakers youth team and the family would stay on for the main game.

    On Sunday, some of the very players who Cowburn, 20, used to watch and grew up to idolise will form a guard of honour as the rookie defender and his Jets teammates take the field against Adelaide at Hunter Stadium.

    The annual Old Boys’ day is part of the Jets ‘‘community round’’, which includes a parade of the Emerging Jets squads and a rare chance for fans to enter the playing arena after the game.

    A collection of past players from KB United, Newcastle Rosebud, Newcastle Breakers, Newcastle United and the Jets will usher the present crop onto the field.

    ‘‘I have never experienced anything like that before. It will be pretty special,’’ said Cowburn, who will line up for his fourth start and sixth A-League appearance.

    ‘‘A large portion of the side at the moment comes from Newcastle.

    ‘‘They know how important it is to play in front of the old boys and get that community culture around the club again.

    ‘‘We have let that slip a little bit this year with our performances. Coming off a win, and having the old boys behind us, the Emerging Jets and other local kids cheering us on … it will inspire us to perform better.’’

    Among the ‘‘old boys’’ will be Cowburn’s father and his older brother, Jason, who made one senior national league appearance for Newcastle and came through the youth system.

    The Cowburns are one of two father-son combinations, alongside Jim and Daniel McBreen, to represent the city in the national league.

    ‘‘I was there when Nick made his debut away at Western Sydney,’’ Brett, a former midfielder, said.

    ‘‘Sunday will be another proud moment. It’s not his first home game, but it is a special one being Old Boys’ day.’’

    Andy Roberts, with 234 caps, has represented Newcastle on the national stage more than anyone.

    There is no more passionate or proud Novocastrian than the former left back and club captain who earlier in the season spoke to the squad about what it means to represent the city.

    ‘‘It is my favourite day of the year,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s a day that the ex-players really look forward to, and it seems to be growing every year.

    ‘‘When you consider we have had a presence in the national league since 1978.

    ‘‘Since the halcyon days of KB United there have been more than 300 players go through from Newcastle and play at the national level.

    ‘‘They always loved playing for Newcastle and a lot have remained in the area.

    ‘‘That is why it’s important to recognise the past and keep this going.’’

    Sunday is also about the future.

    Former Socceroo Craig Moore will address the Emerging Jets squads earlier in the day before they are presented to the crowd at half-time.

    All players registered in Northern NSW aged from five to 16 will receive free entry to the game but must register online at the Jets website by 5pm Friday.

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