Preview: Newcastle Jets v Brisbane Roar

Newcastle Jets and Brisbane Roar will meet in Round 6 of the 2013-14 A-League season at Hunter Stadium on Sunday November 17 at 5pm AEDT.

Newcastle Jets and Brisbane Roar will meet in Round 6 of the 2013-14 A-League season at Hunter Stadium on Sunday November 17 at 5pm AEDT.


Played: 25 - Wins: Brisbane 7, Newcastle 9. Draws: 7

Previous encounter: Newcastle Jets 0-0 Brisbane Roar, February 22, 2013

Form: Past five matches: Newcastle: WDDDL Brisbane: WWLWW

The game: Just a couple of weeks ago and this would have looked like a potential walk-over for the high-flying Roar, who are the form team in the competition and deservedly leading the A-League after five rounds. But the Jets have improved considerably in their previous two outings, culminating in a 2-1 win away to Adelaide last weekend. Kew Jaliens' first goal in Newcastle colours and a delightful chipped finish from Adam Taggart earned Gary van Egmond's team the lead, and although they allowed the Reds, who finished the game with 10 men, to pull one back, the visitors at Cooper Stadium did enough to take home all three points. The arrival of the Roar to Hunter Stadium is likely to prove a sterner test. Last week Mike Mulvey's men announced themselves as genuine title contenders with a 1-0 win away to reigning champions Central Coast, despite missing several experienced first-team regulars. And they will have no intention of losing momentum when they make the journey south the NSW.

The big issue: Newcastle - How best to accommodate the fit-again Emile Heskey. The absence of the marquee centre-forward through injury was cited as a reason for the Jets' lack of goals early in the campaign, but they did their best work at Coopers Stadium on Saturday before his introduction. If Van Egmond's opts to include him from the start against Brisbane, one of Adam Taggart, Nathan Burns and Andrew Hoole must make way, potentially costing Newcastle much-needed mobility in the final third.

Brisbane - More absentees for the Roar to contend with. While defender Jade North is set to return, fullback Shane Stefanutto, striker Besart Berisha and midfielder Liam Miller are likely to miss out again. The Roar will also be without Matt McKay and Ivan Franjic due to Socceroos commitments, meaning Mike Mulvey will have to turn to yet more of the club's promising youngsters. So far Corey Brown, Dimitri Petratos and Kwame Yeboah have acquitted themselves well, but can the team withstand the loss of more experienced regulars?

The game breaker Thomas Broich - Often a key man for the Roar even when they are at full-strength, the German is likely to find himself surrounded by relative inexperience on Sunday, meaning he will need to be at his absolute best to guide his inexperienced colleagues through a searching encounter against what is sure to be a confident Jets outfit. If Broich can shoulder that responsibility and still have his own individual influence on proceedings, the visitors have every chance of continuing their impressive early season run.