Newcastle Jets coach Ernie Merrick insists Grand Final revenge isn't on his mind ahead of Saturday night’s clash with Melbourne Victory.
But the McDonald Jones Stadium faithful might beg to differ when the Hyundai A-League 2017/18 Grand Final rematch kicks off at 7.50pm (AEDT) in the Hunter Valley.
Newcastle will enter the clash in better shape than their opponents after a hard-fought point gained against Adelaide in Round 2.
But Victory are still searching for the right formula after two defeats on the trot. Kevin Muscat’s side fought back valiantly in last Sunday’s 3-2 defeat to Perth Glory before a stoppage-time goal left the reigning Champions propping up the ladder ahead of their trip to Newcastle.
KEY OPTA STATS
- Melbourne Victory have lost just two of their last nine games against Newcastle Jets (W5, D2); however, both of those defeats came last season.
- Newcastle Jets have won three of their last six games on home turf against Melbourne Victory (D1, L2); however, they failed to find the back of the net in the remaining three games in that span.
- Newcastle Jets have failed to score a goal in three of their last four games on home turf, more times than they had been kept scoreless in their 20 home games prior.
THEY SAID IT
"It's not a revenge game, it's about taking three points in every match and getting into the finals and taking it from there. I'm not big on this emotional revenge stuff. With the Grand Final last year, you have to accept it. A team wins and a team loses and you can't dwell on it. You move on and aim to be in the finals and correct that in the Finals."
Newcastle Jets coach Ernie Merrick
INS AND OUTS
Newcastle Jets squad: 1.Glen MOSS (gk), 3.Jason HOFFMAN, 4.Nigel BOOGAARD (c), 5.Ben KANTAROVSKI, 6.Steven UGARKOVIC, 7.Dimi PETRATOS, 8.Jair, 10.Ronald VARGAS, 11.Mitch AUSTIN, 13.Ivan VUJICA, 14.Kaine SHEPPARD, 16.Nick COWBURN, 17.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 20.Lewis ITALIANO (gk), 22.Lachlan JACKSON, 23.Matthew RIDENTON, 32.Angus THURGATE, 44.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 13.Ivan VUJICA (promoted), 32.Angus THURGATE (return from Young Socceroos)
Unavailable: 9.Roy O’DONOVAN (suspension – 6 rounds), 18.Johnny KOUTROUMBIS (illness – TBC), 24.Joe CHAMPNESS (foot – TBC)
Melbourne Victory squad: 1.Matt ACTON (gk), 2.Storm ROUX, 3. Corey BROWN, 4.Keisuke HONDA, 5.Georg NIEDERMEIER, 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 8.Terry ANTONIS, 9.Kosta BARBAROUSES, 10.James TROISI, 13.Birkan KIRDAR, 14.Thomas DENG, 15.Raul BAENA, 16.Josh HOPE, 19. Rahmat AKBARI, 20.Lawrence THOMAS (gk), 21.Carl VALERI (c), 22.Nick ANSELL, 23.Jai INGHAM
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 13.Birkan KIRDAR (promoted), 16.Josh HOPE (promoted), 19. Rahmat AKBARI (promoted)
Outs: Kenny ATHIU (hamstring – TBC)
Unavailable: Ola TOIVONEN (calf – TBC)
HOW TO WATCH
Secure your seat for this Saturday night's Grand Final re-match here.