Two last-start winners, playing with renewed confidence at a first-time venue for the Hyundai A-League. With so many flair players on show, Sunday’s clash should be great entertainment.
Western Sydney Wanderers FC v Newcastle Jets
Spotless Stadium, Sydney Olympic Park
Kick-Off: 7:00PM (Local) (7:00PM (AEDT))
Referee: Chris Beath
Assistant Referee 1: Greg Taylor
Assistant Referee 2: Andrej Giev
Fourth Official: Ben Abraham
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on Fox Sports 505 from 7.00pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 2 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: 702 ABC Sydney, 1233 ABC Newcastle, ABC Local Radio NSW, Grandstand Digital & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live; EON Sports Radio (eonsportsradio.com), Hawkesbury Radio
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #WSWvNEW
To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au
Western Sydney Wanderers FC squad: 1.Jerrad TYSON (gk), 3.Jack CLISBY, 5.Brendan HAMILL, 6.Mitch NICHOLS, 7.Steve LUSTICA, 8.Dimas (c), 9.Kerem BULUT, 10.Nicolás MARTÍNEZ, 11.Brendon SANTALAB, 12.Scott NEVILLE, 13.Bruno PIÑATARES, 14.Jumpei KUSUKAMI, 15.Kearyn BACCUS, 17.Artiz BORDA, 18.Robbie CORNTHWAITE, 19.Jacob MELLING, 20.Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 22.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 17.Artiz BORDA (returns from suspension), 19.Jacob MELLING (promoted)
Unavailable: 21.Mario SHABOW (international duty – 2 weeks), 23.Lachlan SCOTT (international duty – 2 weeks), 25.Liam YOULLEY (international duty – 2 weeks), 26.Jackson BANDIERA (international duty – 2 weeks)
Newcastle Jets squad: 3.Jason HOFFMAN, 4.Nigel BOOGAARD (c), 5.Ben KANTAROVSKI, 6.Steven UGARKOVIC, 7.Andrew HOOLE, 8.Mateo POLJAK, 10.Wayne BROWN, 11.Labinot HALITI, 13.Ivan VUJICA, 14.Mitch COOPER, 15.Andrew NABBOUT, 16.Nicholas COWBURN, 19.Morten NORDSTRAND, 20.Jack DUNCAN (gk), 22.Lachlan JACKSON, 23.Devante CLUT, 30.Pierce CLARK (gk)
**one to be omitted**
Ins: 3.Jason HOFFMAN (returns from injury)
Unavailable: 1.Ben KENNEDY (gk) (Achilles – season), 2.Daniel MULLEN (knee – indefinite), 21.Daniel ALESSI (knee – season)
These sides were at opposite ends of the ladder last season. But going on the opening two rounds of the new Hyundai A-League season, they look much more evenly matched this time around.
The Wanderers have been notoriously slow starters in the A-League but made some club history in beating Adelaide United last time out. It was the first time Tony Popovic’s side has ever managed a win in the first two rounds of a new campaign.
In saying that, they still have plenty of room for improvement and you get the sense they are coming to the boil nicely.
And what about the Jets? New coach Mark Jones has had an immediate impact on the squad. A draw and win from the first two games is an excellent base to build on.
Not only are they looking solid at the back but there is vibrancy to their game going forward as well. They have pace and creative flair which has been great to watch.
Can the Hunter club keep it going in their first away match of the season and the first-ever A-League game at Western Sydney’s new ‘Wanderland’ – Spotless Stadium.
It should be a cracking content to complete Round 3 on Sunday evening.
ROUTE TO GOAL
With so many new faces in the squad it was always going to take time for the Wanderers attack to hit full throttle. But the signs are it won’t take as long as we may have thought.
Some of their intricate play against the Reds was a joy to watch, with playmaker Mitch Nichols at the centre of most of it.
Argentine ‘Nico’ Martinez impressed again off the bench and must be edging closer to a start, while Jumpei Kusukami has the potential to be one of the buys of the season.
And what more can you say about Brendon Santalab? His scoring record off the bench is phenomenal and the 34-year-old seems to have the knack of being in the right place at the right time.
While they don’t have the big names of some other clubs, Newcastle’s attacking talent is certainly producing so far in 2016/17.
Ex-Victory flyer Andrew Nabbout is thriving since his move to the Hunter – setting up two goals in the rout of the Roar.
Throw in the skill of Devante Clut and pure speed of Andrew Hoole and there’s good variety to Newcastle’s front line.
And if Morten Nordstrand can get back to the form we saw last season, there are goals in the Jets.
WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Brendon Santalab. The competition’s best super-sub lived up to his reputation with a brace off the bench to sink the Reds last weekend. Will Popa stick with that formula or unleash ‘Santa’ from the start on Sunday?
Western Sydney Wanderers 3-1 Newcastle Jets