Ernie’s attack, attack, attack ethos set to make history against Wanderers
Ernie Merrick's entertainers the Newcastle Jets have scored at least one goal in every game this Hyundai A-League season.
And if Merrick’s men score again on Friday night against Western Sydney Wanderers FC at Spotless Stadium, they’ll become just the sixth club in Hyundai A-League history to hit the net in 20 consecutive matches.
That stat is made even more impressive by another fact: the Jets have registered 13 different goal-scorers this season
From eight-goal Andrew Nabbout and seven-goal Dimi Petratos to new signing Riley McGree, who hit his debut goal recently, the Jets are all getting in on the act.
It’s emblematic of the ethos underpinning the Jets’ audacious season, as central defender Nikolai Topor-Stanley explained.
“If I was to say one thing, it is that we have the personnel that, I guess, likes to play attacking football.
“And, when we have a coach that encourages that type of free-flowing style and lets the players take responsibility for their own movements, our midfielders, and those up front are certainly taking advantage of that.
"They’re in great form and have been rewarded with goals. Nabbout and Petratos are certainly on the Socceroos’ radar,” Topor-Stanley told www.a-league.com.au.
The Jets have scored 41 times (second only to leaders Sydney FC on 50 goals and 11 more than third-placed City).
What's more, heading into Friday night's game at Spotless, the Jets have the best record in the league - that includes Sydney FC - for coming back to win from conceding first.
The Jets have won four of the nine games (44 per cent) when they have let in the opposition for the opener in games this season.
It shows that behind the free-flowing philosophy is a team of strong characters. Topor-Stanley agrees.
"I guess that stat about coming back in games is a testament to the mental resilience that we try to hang in there as much as possible.
"If we go a goal behind it's not a huge drama. And that we know we are capable of chances and finish them off.
"In saying that, we don't aim ever to concede first but it is a pleasing statistic to have but we don't want that."
Last time they faced the Wanderers, Newcastle smashed four past a shambolic red and black outfit at McDonald Jones.
Coach Josep Gombau has stabilised the Wanderers ship since then, but the Jets will surely be confident of coming back up the F3 with at least a point.
And Topor-Stanley would love to add to his one goal this season against the club where he's still considered a legend after lifting the AFC Asian Champions League in 2014.
If so, he'd go ahead of fellow centre-back Nigel Boogaard who is also on one goal.
Their battle to be the top-scoring central defender at the club is the cause of much banter in the Jets camp.
"A couple of weeks back Nigel had a perfect opportunity to give me an assist and he put it a little too far from me.
"I think that was on purpose!" Topor-Stanley added.
See the Jets face the Wanderers on Friday night at Sydney's Spotless stadium. Kick off is 7.50pm.