Five memorable moments from your club's 2018/19 season: Newcastle Jets

They might have fallen some way short of their 2017/18 fairytale run to the Grand Final, but Newcastle Jets still gave their die-hard support plenty to enjoy in 2018/19.

Cracking goals, feats of endurance and glimpses of a bright future were all big positives of the campaign for Ernie Merrick's side.

Let's look back at five of those highlights now.

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Koutroumbis fights back after cancer diagnosis

Newcastle had a frustrating and ultimately underwhelming 2018/19 campaign. But that was all put into perspective by Johnny Koutroumbis.

The 21-year-old's footballing career was put on hold when he was diagnosed with stage-one thyroid cancer last October. 

Incredibly, Koutroumbis returned to the pitch three months later in January's 2-2 draw with Brisbane Roar.

And less than a fortnight after that, Koutroumbis penned a contract extension that will keep him in the Hunter Valley until at least 2020/21.

“He looks better than ever, and we’re keen to continue his development over the next few seasons," hailed Jets boss Ernie Merrick at the time. "He’s a player with tremendous potential."

That potential was underlined when the youngster was called up by Graham Arnold for Australia's 2020 AFC U-23 Championship Qualifiers in Cambodia in March.  

WATCH: Koutroumbis found the net in Newcastle's 2-0 upset win over Melbourne Victory in Round 21

City shown real heart

What a balancing act this was from Merrick and the Jets.

Newcastle were smack bang in the middle of a hectic schedule of Hyundai A-League fixtures and AFC Champions League qualifiers – a run which included four matches in 12 days – when Melbourne City came to visit in February.

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With one eye on the club's continental clash with Japan's Kashima Antlers on the Tuesday, Merrick fielded seven changes for City’s arrival the previous Friday, largely abandoning the club's usual swashbuckling approach given the limited options at his disposal.

The Jets boss later revealed his side had just one training session together practising their more reactive strategy – but they stunned City regardless, with goals from Jair, Roy O’Donovan and Joey Champness inspiring a memorable 3-1 win.

WATCH: Under-strength Jets shock Melbourne City

Petratos sparks Victory upset

Dimitri Petratos took his penchant for a long-range cracker to new heights in March.

The Australian attacker's venomous stoppage-time strike was not only one of the goals of the season, but sealed a shock 2-0 win over Melbourne Victory in one of Newcastle's finest displays of the campaign.

It was a win that – albeit temporarily – breathed new life into Newcastle's top-six aspirations.

Pick that one out.

WATCH: Petratos stunner seals win in Geelong

Thurgate announces his arrival against the Wanderers

With Newcastle's chances of the top six slowly evaporating, Merrick opted to use the tail end of the season to showcase some of the hottest talent in the Hunter.

It was a decision that paid dividends in the club's 3-2 win over Western Sydney Wanderers in April, when 19-year-old midfielder Angus Thurgate stole the show.

Dubbed the 'Port Macquarie Pele' in some online circles, Thurgate came off the bench and fired a composed 82nd-minute match-winner to settle a thoroughly entertaining five-goal thriller. 

WATCH: Thurgate goal clinches five-goal thriller for Jets

Topor-Stanley's iron man efforts

Will there ever be an end to Nikolai Topor-Stanley's freakish feat of durability?

The towering centre-back has played every single minute for the Jets since re-joining the club two seasons ago.

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That’s an astonishing 63 consecutive games without picking up an injury or being substituted.

"I don't know how Topor does it," Merrick told the Newcastle Herald after the defender, now 34, signed a new two-year deal in March.

"He is just incredible. He and Nigel [Boogaard] are rock solid at the back. Topor is never on the physio's bench. Never.

“He looks after himself and is a true professional. He is so reliable and never complains.”

Nikolai Topor-Stanley
Jets defender Nikolai Topor-Stanley hasn't missed a minute in two successive seasons in the Hunter