From flops to flyers: Newcastle Jets are a shining light in the A-League

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Having missed the A-League finals eight of the last nine seasons, the Jets are finally on the rise

Initiative. It's what separates men from boys and the Newcastle Jets from the rest of the A-League.

They might not sit top of the ladder, but the Novacastrians lead the way in many other areas. 

The first A-League team to score in 16 straight matches to start a season, the Jets know a thing or two about taking initiative. And not just on the pitch either. 

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Against Brisbane Roar on Friday night, Newcastle CEO Lawrie McKinna organised a 14th-minute tribute to teenager Amy 'Dolly' Everett who tragically took her life after online bullying. Fans were also urged fans to wear blue to raise awareness about the issue. 

It was a heartwarming gesture that reminded those in the stands and at home that football really isn't everything. But at the same time, that football does have a unique ability to bring people together and shine a light on important issues. 

At a time when the A-League is struggling with fan support, the Jets base remains as strong as ever. 

Having themselves struggled consistently on the pitch over the past few seasons, Newcastle's fans are finally being rewarded and repaying the positive results with continued strong support. 

Helping Sydney FC attract 18,000 to their clash during the week, the Jets then lured a strong 12,000 crowd on Friday night against an uninspiring Brisbane outfit. 

While the good results are no doubt helping the crowd figures, you can't help but think the Novacastrian faithful would be there regardless. 

Despite a strong start to this campaign with a 5-1 F3 Derby smashing, the Jets looked set to crash once more with long-term injuries to marquee Ronald Vargas and main striker Roy O'Donovan. 

Yet without those proverbial wings, Newcastle have remained airborne.

A lot of that has to do with new coach Ernie Merrick who has refused to use injuries as a crutch as he's restored some much-needed self belief in this Jet's side. 

Ernie Merrick Newcastle Jets

Rather than bemoan injuries, the club have turned to their youth giving a 20-year-old Joey Champness a chance to shine and even handing a debut to 17-year-old local product Angus Thurgate as they held on against the Roar. 

After recruiting strongly in the off season, the Jets have then backed it up in January by bringing Riley McGree on loan from Belgium and luring Patricio Rodriguez down under.

The signing of Rodriguez as an injury replacement for Vargas a fitting reflection of the club's commitment to moving forward with the player looking more than capable of filling Vargas' shoes.

Forward is a direction the Jets have developed a very clear love for on the pitch too. Unlike the table-topping Sydney FC who prefer a more patient build-up, Newcastle tend to fly forward making for truly exciting viewing even if it does leave them vulnerable on the break.

From a CEO concerned with more than just football, a resilient fan base, a coach that makes no excuses and a team that continues to excite, the Jets are truly a golden example for the rest of the A-League.

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