Continuity is key for the Newcastle Jets heading into the 2019/20 A-League season.
The club is eager to improve on the seventh-placed finish it achieved last season, with Saturday's pre-season match at Dubbo to play a vital part in the build-up to the new campaign.
The Jets touched down in Dubbo on Friday and were straight into work on the training pitch ahead of Saturday's meeting with Sydney FC at Apex Oval.
The Ernie Merrick-coached side is near full-strength for the #JetsTour game, and the bulk of the players on show have now been part of the club for a number of years.
That consistency and cohesion is something captain Nigel Boogaard is keen to harness.
"It's massive. You look at most of the squads which are successful in the league and they're able to keep the core of their squad together year in, year out and the majority of their starting 11 plays each week," Boogaard told the Daily Liberal on Friday.
"To have that and the majority of the squad together and some new boys, outside of Bobby [Burns], they've been in quite early in pre-season which makes a massive difference.
"Sometimes in the past they come in just a few weeks before the season and they've got to get up to speed with the group and we're where at so its good we've been together for awhile.
"We've had a couple of trips away and a couple of boding trips, which has been nice, and now we're getting close to start of the season."
Northern Ireland under 21 international Burns arrived on loan from Scottish club Hearts just this week, while Ecuadorian striker Abdiel Arroyo and former Premier League midfielder Wes Hoolahan are the other major recruits coming in to boost the side.
Hoolahan won't feature at Dubbo due to an ankle injury but Burns and Arroyo are set to be in action alongside the likes of Boogaard, Ben Kantarovski, Nikolai Toper-Stanley and Socceroos striker Dimi Petratos.
"It's about working on the combinations and working on tactics the coach has been working on all pre-season," Boogaard said of the Dubbo game.
"Sydney is a good test for us. It's an A-League opposition. It's about understanding where we're at, not only physically but tactically and it will give us a good indication of what we need to do in the last month of pre-season."
Great of the @NewcastleJetsFC players to have some fun with juniors from the Dubbo region all while passing on some tips and hints during this #JetsTour clinic.— Nick Guthrie (@Nj_Guthrie) September 20, 2019
And how about this strike. Jets’ Angus Thurgate left with no chance. pic.twitter.com/Xy22JskWac
Boogaard was pleased with the conditions at Apex Oval after training on the pristine surface on Friday afternoon, and that session followed a Jets:PLAY clinic with more than 100 juniors from around the region.
"It's great that kids like this get the exposure to A-League players," Boogaard said.
"It's not every day they get it and it's a long way to Sydney or Newcastle. It's always nice to come out and there could be a future Jet or Sydney FC player or Matilda or Socceroo.
"It's great coming out and seeing all the kids who enjoy football and have a smile on their face."
Kick-off is 3pm, Saturday at Apex Oval.
Tickets are available from 123tix.com.au.