SETTLING IN: Aleksandr Kokko with Jets physiotherapist Justin Dougherty at training on Tuesday. Picture: Jonathan CarrollJets signing Aleksandr Kokko has backed himself to perform against the best in the A-League, including new Melbourne City striker Tim Cahill.
Nanjing Night Net

Asked after his first training run on Tuesday if he was familiar with any A-League players, his knowledge was thin, except for one man.

“Cahill I know. Big player. The best player in Australian history? It’s very good to see him arrive. We’ll see who’s better,” the 1.89-metre front man said.

Kokko faced the media on Tuesday two days after arriving in Australia for his first time down under.

The 29-year-old said he wanted a new challenge after spending all of his career in Finland.

“I’ve played in Finland the last 12 years. I have won nearly everything there,” Kokko said.

“I have been trying to moveabroad as a new challenge for me, and I think Australia is a great place for me now.

“A week ago my agent called me and said there might be interest in Australia. I said,‘Yes, I’m interested.’ After that Scott [Miller] called me about what kind of player he needs, and now I’m here.”

Kokko, whose girlfriend Julia will arrive next month, said he knew what was expected of him in Newcastle.

“Goals, goals and goals,” he said.“If you want to be the first striker, you must score thegoals or you are on the bench, and nobody wants to be on the bench.

“The last five years I am always scoring, and I don’t see any reason why I won’t score here.”

Kokko agreed with coach Miller that Finnish players represented good value for money in Australia.

“If you take the best players from Finland,they are good players, but because it’s Finland nobody thinks there’s good players, just ice hockey,” he said.

“We don’t have that much money there. A couple of teams maybe can pay the same, but overall it’s a little bit better quality here and the money and everything.”