Newcastle has the perfect opportunity to pick up a valuable three points when they host Brisbane in the final match of Round 22.
The Roar were belted 6-0 in the Asian Champions League midweek against Ulsan Hyundai and the long flight back wouldn’t have helped their cause for this.
John Aloisi’s side blew a golden chance to climb to third on the table last week when dropping a 2-1 decision at home to Wellington. Newcastle, in the meantime, picked up a point in the F3 Derby after a 1-1 draw.
STILL IN CONTENTION
Newcastle hasn’t had the best of runs lately and have gone four games without a win, trading losses and draws over the past month.
Despite that they sit just two points outside the top six heading into this round so finals football is still on the menu for Mark Jones’ outfit.
The one thing that will hold them in good stead here is their home record. The Jets have only lost twice in front of their fans and are ranked sixth in the league in terms of points picked up at home (15).
FATIGUE SETTING IN?
Brisbane has had a wretched schedule in the past few weeks which has included four Asian Champions League games.
No one could blame them if fatigue was a factor heading into this as they definitely showed that last week, putting in a lethargic display against the freefalling Phoenix which allowed the visitors to score an unlikely win.
Brisbane has conceded two goals in each of their past three games.
Newcastle has proven to be a bit of a stumbling block for the Roar this season.
The first match, at this venue, saw them blank the Roar 4-0 before winning the return bout at Suncorp 3-2 in early January.
Games between these sides are always highly entertaining with an average of 3.5 goals between them in their past six clashes.
For us this is Newcastle’s game to lose.
Brisbane has had a fair bit of travel lately and the Jets are currently enjoying their longest point streak at home since 2007. They are unbeaten in their past six matches at McDonalds Jones Stadium.
Countering that stat is the uncanny record of Brisbane when it comes to Sunday games. They have won their past three games played on this particular day and in fact, under Aloisi, have only lost twice from 11 matches on the last day of the week.
If Newcastle have any aspirations of playing finals football then they need to attack this game with vigour. Again, Andrew Nabbout, Andrew Hoole and Morten Norstrand are the keys. If they fire then the Jets will be racking up another win at home.
THE TIP: NEWCASTLE JETS
TOTAL GOALS OVER/UNDER 2.5: OVER 2.5
1st GOALSCORER: ANDREW NABBOUT – he has scored four of the team’s past six goals at home