Preview: Newcastle Jets v Brisbane Roar

This should be a particularly interesting game as both sides have shown off some impressive ball movement throughout the course of the season.

Date: Saturday 17 March, 2012 Kick-off: 5.30pm AEDT Venue: Hunter Stadium

Head-to-head Played 21 Wins: Newcastle 8, Brisbane 7, Draws: 6

Previous encounter Brisbane 0, Newcastle 1, Suncorp Stadium, January 2012

History: Newcastle and Brisbane share quite an odd history. In a strange twist, Newcastle have won seven of their eight victories over Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium, including their last result, a 1-0 victory courtesy of an early Jobe Wheelhouse goal.

Most of the games between these two teams in the last few years have been tight affairs decided by the odd one or two goals. But there have been dramatic encounters between them in the past, most notably Newcastle's 3-2 extra-time win over the then Queensland Roar in early 2008, on the way to the Jets' first Hyundai A-League championship.

Form: Past five matches: Newcastle: WLWWD Brisbane Roar: WWWDD

The Jets head into this encounter in as good form as any side in the competition. They didn't look like they had any chance of competing in the finals in early January but have now taken 16 points of a possible 21 from their last seven games to climb into sixth on the Hyundai A-League table.

Their only poor performance over the last six weeks was during a tough road trip to Perth to face the Glory.

The Roar's form is harder to judge. The loss to Newcastle mentioned above, saw Brisbane respond with four consecutive victories, giving people the impression Ange Postecoglou's men were back in business.

However, an AFC Champions League loss to FC Tokyo may have taken the wind out of Brisbane's sails a little bit as they struggled early on against Adelaide last week in a 1-1 draw.

However, despite suffering a couple of serious injuries, Brisbane may have re-discovered their mojo by the end of that encounter and are now just two points adrift of league leader Central Coast.

Match Committee: Newcastle have a full squad to choose from as Ruben Zadkovich returns from his one-match suspension to face Brisbane.

Roar coach Ange Postecoglou also received some good news throughout the week as well.

Although things looked a little grim when both Luke Brattan and Rocky Visconte were stretchered from the field during last week's match, the results from scans have been positive, with neither of the pair facing long-term injuries.

They will both miss this week's clash, however, along with Brisbane's next AFC Champions League encounter. Added to this, Mitch Nichols (groin) and Massimo Murdocca (shoulder) have apparently made significant improvement over the last week and may even be in line for selection against the Jets.

Danger men: Ryan Griffiths has nine goals for the season, but isn't completely happy with his performances, saying he was more clinical with his finishing while playing for Beijing. He's set himself a goal of breaking his brother Joel's record of 12 goals for the Jets in a season, and who's to say he won't do it if Newcastle can hang onto a spot in the finals.

Thomas Broich endured an absolute shocker last weekend, spurning several chances. Indeed, he was more of a danger to the bloke in Row K than Adelaide United. But the classy German won't have too many matches like that, so expect him to bounce back in a big way this weekend.

At the end of the day… This should be a particularly interesting game as both sides have shown off some impressive ball movement throughout the course of the season.

The Jets weren't quite on the money with their game plan earlier in the year, but the last seven matches have seen them really nail down Gary van Egmond's blueprint as they've made a late run to the finals.

The Jets will also be desperate for a result in this game, especially with Sydney lurking, trying to take their spot. The Jets have 35 points for the campaign and Sky Blues 34, so any slip-up from the Jets will give Sydney their chance.

Newcastle have also been pretty impressive at home throughout the year and will be disappointed they didn't secure a win against a resilient Gold Coast last weekend. But the Roar will also be looking to regain some momentum ahead of the finals, so don't discount this being an absolutely cracking encounter. Still a draw looks the likely result.