A-League: Milestone skipper Nigel Boogaard compares Newcastle Jets’ buzz to early years at Central Coast Mariners

DOUBLE TON: Nigel Boogaard at Ray Watt Oval on Thursday. Picture: Jonathan CarrollNigel Boogaard has been around long enough now to know the highs and lows of football life.
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And on the eve of notching up his 200thA-League appearance, which includes the inaugural FFA Cup title and a grand final loss almost 10 years ago, the homegrown skipperputs thiscurrent vibe at the undefeated Newcastle Jets right up there.

MILESTONE: Jets skipper Nigel Boogaard will make his 200th A-League appearance. Picture: Marina Neil

“I’d almost have to compare it to early days when I was at the [Central Coast] Mariners,” he said before making the trip to Adelaide for Saturday’s sixth-round clash with United.

“There’s just this camaraderie within the group. It’s a great bunch of boys and there’s a belief there that we can achievesomething.

“We all belivethat we have the right recipe to succeed this year, but we’re not getting ahead of ourselves.

“We’re five games in and it’s been a great start, but we’re nowhere near where we believe we can be in a lot of aspects of the game.

“At the moment there’s just a good buzz and a good vibe around the club so hopefully we can carry that on throughout the season.”

FAMILY: Nigel Boogaard with wife Kerryn and daughter Audrey in July. Picture: Marina Neil

The Dudley-Redhead junioris now31,husband to wife Kerryn and father to three-month-old daughter Audrey. It’s a far cry from the teenager that debuted off the bench more thana decade ago in the old National Soccer League competition.

“That first taste was only a few minutes, but it was enough for me to go I belong here and I think I can make a career out of this,” he said.

“That was the first time I genuinely believed it and looking back I’m thankful to be given that opportunity at such a youngage.

“A lot’s changed [since then]. I’d say I’ma lot more mature these days. I’m a family man, I’ve got a daughter and a beautiful wife.

“Perspective on life changes as you grow and my football knowledge has comea long way. Hopefullywhat I’ve learned over the last 13 or 14 years as a professional I can pass on now to some of the younger players.”

BODY AND SOUL: Nigel Boogaard wins a header for Adelaide against the Jets. He played 98 times for United.

The central defender started out with the Mariners, originally signed and kept by now Jets chief executive officer Lawrie McKinna despite setbacks. Boogaard thenmoved to Adelaide for six campaignsbefore returning to Newcastle from 2015.

The most-capped Jets captain will become the 23rdperson to reach the double-century milestoneand isone of thefew remaining players from theA-League’sinception in 2005-2006.

“It’s exciting times and hopefully there’s a few more years in this body and there’s a few more milestones and achievements to come,” he said.

STARTING OUT: A young Nigel Boogaard in action for his first A-League club, Central Coast Mariners.

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