Formlines to remain intact as Jets continue to soar. If there are two sides that are hurting most on the injury front at the moment it is Newcastle and Brisbane, so facing off against one another would be somewhat of a relief this week – especially on a short turnaround. Where the Jets have handled depletion with class, maintaining their top two position all the way through, the Roar has struggled to find consistency and is languishing way outside the top six. Newcastle backed up its impressive 2-2 draw with Sydney FC last week with an entertaining 2-nil F3 Derby win over Central Coast at McDonald Jones Stadium on Tuesday. Brisbane, meanwhile, suffered a 3-nil loss at home to the Sky Blues the night before. It’s almost getting to must-win time for John Aloisi’s men, but aside from having had an extra day’s break, it’s hard to make a case for them here.
- In back-to-back home games against the Sydney teams in the past week BRISBANE lost twice, conceded five goals and didn’t score one itself
- Argentine winger Patito Rodríguez made his debut off the bench for NEWCASTLE against Central Coast and scored the Jets’ second goal
- NEWCASTLE has the second best home record in the A-League this season, having won five and drawn two of its eight games.
HOME ISN’T ALWAYS BEST
- These teams have played once already this season, with Newcastle scoring a 2-1 win at Suncorp Stadium on October 22
- In 20 home games against Brisbane, Newcastle has won only four times. Brisbane has won 10 of those matches.
- Last season’s games between these teams produced four goals or more every time. The pair’s last six meetings have produced at least three goals a game.
While the Jets attack wasn’t at its swashbuckling best against Central Coast, Newcastle did what good sides do and toughed out the win. It will need to display a similar level of tenacity given the three-day break, but Ernie Merrick’s side is proving capable of achieving most things this season.
Newcastle wouldn’t want to be chasing the game again as it had to against the Mariners the other night, so will have to be on song from the outset.
Looked impressive in his half-hour cameo against the Mariners and, while not likely to be fit enough to play a full 90 minutes, could provide some fresh legs in the starting line-up, thus giving him the chance to open the scoring.
With so many games in such a short space of time, the Jets may not be at their freewheeling best. Brisbane has struggled to find the back of the net anyway, so the unders market looks appealing here.
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