Newcastle Jets smash club records in breakthrough season for Ernie's men

These are the stats that prove this Newcastle Jets side are rewriting the club's history books. 

Newcastle claimed the Hyundai A-League 2007/08 Championship under Gary van Egmond, but now the 2017/18 edition under Ernie Merrick is statistically the club’s best-ever in a 10-team competition.

The Jets have set new club records for:

  • most points accrued in a 10-team season (37)
  • goals scored (41) 
  • total wins (11)

What's more, their scoring options haven't been limited to attacking players, with the team registering a club-record equaling 13 separate goal-scorers for the season.

Newcastle Jets
Newcastle are right in the mix for a top-two finish.

After finishing bottom of the competition in the Hyundai A-League 2016/17 Season, the Jets are currently in second spot and a real chance of securing a home semi-final with eight rounds left.  

It's been some season and some turnaround. 

Jets' end of regular season standings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Season

W

D

L

GF

GA

PTS

Pos.

2017/18*

11

4

4

41

22

37

2

2016/17

5

7

15

28

53

22

10

2015/16

8

6

13

28

41

30

8

2014/15

3

8

16

23

55

17

10

2013/14

10

6

11

34

34

36

7

2012/13

8

7

12

30

45

31

8

2011/12

10

5

12

38

41

35

7

2010/11

9

8

13

29

33

35

7

2009/10

10

4

13

33

45

34

6

2008/09

4

6

11

21

39

18

8

2007/08

9

7

5

25

21

34

2

2006/07

8

6

7

32

30

30

4

2005/06

9

4

8

27

29

31

4

 

The most telling of those figures is the number of goals the team has put in the back of the net.

Prior to this season, Newcastle’s best haul in front of goal was 38 in the Hyundai A-League 2011/12 Season, one in which they ultimately missed the Finals Series. 

But there’s something different about this free-scoring Jets outfit.

Merrick has instilled an immense positivity with his attack-minded approach, allowing players the freedom and creativity to express themselves.  

And it’s proved a masterstroke.  

One example is Dimi Petratos.

While always immensely talented, former Sydney FC and Brisbane Roar winger never really reached the heights many expected.

But under the guidance of Merrick, he has developed into one of the best players in the competition this season (and a potential Caltex Socceroo bolter). 

Having moved into a playmaker role due to a long-term injury to Ronny Vargas, Petratos has contributed seven goals and six assists, and he leads the league in chances created.

Dimitri Petratos
Dimitri Petratos has been sensational for the Jets.

Andrew Nabbout, in his second season at the club, is another who’s developed into a key weapon this season. 

The former Victory winger deputised as a makeshift striker in the absence of Roy O’Donovan and has netted eight goals for the campaign with seven assists.

Before suffering a serious groin injury, O'Donovan also started the season on fire for his new club, scoring seven goals in the opening five matches.

And with eight games left, the Irishman should be back to his match-fit best ahead of the Finals Series. 

While embracing Merrick’s attacking philosophy, a solid defensive foundation has also been a huge catalyst for the team’s reversal in fortunes.

Captain Nigel Boogaard and Nikolai Topor-Stanley have formed a formidable partnership at the back, with the duo ranked second and fourth respectively for clearances across the league.

Nigel Boogaard
Nigel Boogaard has been immense at the back.

Defensive midfielders Ben Kantarovski and Steve Ugarkovic have been immense in the centre of the park too, providing crucial cover to an often-stretched defensive unit on transition.

Kantarovski, in particular, has been a revelation.

The 26-year-old was somewhat of a peripheral figure last season and his days in Newcastle appeared to be numbered.

But fast-forward 12 months and he’s now arguably one of the Jets’ most important players, signing a new two-year contract extension in recent weeks.

Sydney FC are nine points clear at the top and appear certain to take out a second-straight Premiership, but the race for second spot is well and truly alive.

Merrick has stated publicly that the club is targeting a top-four finish but with Newcastle sitting four points clear of third-placed City, a top-two finish and a spot in next year’s AFC Asian Champions League is well within reach.

Newcastle Jets celebrate
Newcastle Jets have been the surprise packets this season.

Over the past five seasons, the average number of points for a side finishing second has been 49, the same number Melbourne Victory accrued when they finished behind the Sky Blues last season.

Currently on 37 points after 19 games, the Jets would potentially need to win four of their last eight matches to take second spot.

With five matches against the competition’s bottom sides in the run home – Wanderers (A), Roar (A), Phoenix (A), Glory (H) and Mariners (A), Newcastle should fancy their chances.

With O’Donovan back, Jets fans will be salivating at the prospect of marquee midfielder Ronny Vargas on the pitch alongside impressive Argentine recruit Pato Rodriguez.

Vargas is reportedly just a few weeks away from a return and with a few games under his belt before the Finals Series, Newcastle's sparkling season may just get even better. 

Ronald Vargas
Ronald Vargas could return to spark the Jets at the back end of the season.