North is role model for Roar youngsters


Jade North is a player who simply gets the job done.

In a stellar career with three Hyundai A-League clubs (Brisbane Roar, Wellington Phoenix and Newcastle Jets), overseas (in Japan and Norway) and 41 caps with the Socceroos as well as an A-League All-Stars appearance, the no-nonsense central defender has plied his trade with class and professionalism.

The fact that he has started in 148 of his 150 Hyundai A-League games to date is an indicator of the high regard in which North is held by his coaches and indeed his team mates.

As he embarks on his ninth Hyundai A-League season, the evergreen 33-year-old remarkably feels he has some unfinished business to attend to.

Last season did not end well for North.

After battling a groin problem for several weeks, the club’s No.13 suddenly found himself in hospital requiring his appendix to be removed in a season-ending operation.

“It was bitterly disappointing that I went out like that last season and couldn’t really help the boys. Sitting there watching from your living room all stitched up, it was a bit of a bad feeling,” North says.

But with the Roar now a month into pre-season training and eyeing a Westfield FFA Cup tie with Western Sydney Wanderers FC in a fortnight, there is renewed spring in North’s step.

With new Head Coach John Aloisi at the helm, North says there is no reason this season can’t be his best yet.

“It’s a fresh start for everyone and that’s exciting,” North says.

“Everyone is looking fit and sharp in pre-season and looking to the FFA Cup tie coming up and the season proper after that. I’m feeling good.”

Aloisi has begun a transition to a new era at the Roar and has introduced to his training squad a string of players from the club’s highly successful Youth teams.

Although North is twice the age of some of the teenagers he is training alongside, very few – if any – get the better of the veteran.

“The young boys keep me on my toes which is great,” North says.

“Hopefully my experience will play a part in what we are trying to achieve this season as a club.”

Aloisi’s fresh new approach to football – and high-tempo tactics – also are helping to turn back the clock for North.

“It is the way I like to play football and how I see the game should be played,” he says.

“If we can pull the stuff together tactically and physically that we are doing in training right now, I believe we can really hurt teams this year.”

An ominous warning from a player who has been there . . . and done that!