Brisbane can make Australian football history if they can extend their magical unbeaten streak to 35 matches this week.
Date: Saturday, 19 November 2011 Kick-off: 5.30pm AEDT, 5.30pm local Venue: Ausgrid Stadium
Head-to-head Played 19: Brisbane 6, Newcastle 7, Draws 6.
Previous encounter Brisbane 1, Newcastle 1, 17 November 2010
History: Neither side can say with certainty that have the wood on the other, with past results drawn almost straight down the middle. Last year, of course, the Roar went on a remarkable undefeated streak that still stands and lost just one game for the whole season. But interestingly, they were unable to beat Newcastle in any of their three meetings in 2010-11. That said, it's important to note that Brisbane have lost just once before at Ausgrid Stadium which means it's something of a happy hunting ground for them.
Past five matches: Newcastle: LWLWL Brisbane: WWWDD
Summary of form: Newcastle have been erratic of late - perhaps symptomatic of a side who had their coach sacked before the first game of the campaign. They won their first two games but since then have been really up and down. Last week's 3-0 loss to Melbourne Heart was a downer, but reinstated coach Gary van Egmond insists it'll take time before his men are used to his system. The Roar have been able to keep their undefeated run going, but it hasn't been easy for them over the past fortnight. In consecutive weeks, the men in orange couldn't put a winning score past a nine-man Melbourne Victory or an unfancied Wellington outfit at their Suncorp Stadium fortress.
Match Committee: Brazilian defender Tiago Calvano could be welcomed back by the Jets this week - he seems to be over his hamstring issues. Aside from that, it's business as usual for the Hunter club. Brisbane will be without Matt Jurman, Kofi Danning and Mitch Nichols, who are away with the Qantas Australian U-23s, but Ange Postecoglou is confident his squad has enough depth to cover their absence.
Francis Jeffers - The 'fox in the box' made his first appearance to start his second stint with the Jets last week and even though he didn't get his name on the scoresheet, there were glimpses of the Jeffers of old. His presence alone was enough to suggest that as soon as he settles into the Hyundai A-League groove, he will provide Newcastle with that extra dimension up front that they so desperately need.
Besart Berisha - The former Hamburg and Burnley marksman just cannot stop scoring. The Albanian is a classic poacher and put away his seventh goal in six games last week against the Phoenix, and he's shown no signs of slowing down. It must put Brisbane's midfield at ease knowing that they have a guy like Berisha up front just waiting for the right ball - they know he'll do them justice.
At the end of the day...
Brisbane can make Australian football history if they can extend their magical unbeaten streak to 35 matches this week. A draw or a win will see the Roar break the long-standing record set by the Eastern Suburbs Roosters who went 34 matches in a row without being beaten in the NSW Rugby League back in 1936-1937. But their uninspiring form over the last two weeks means they are no stone cold certainty. On top of that, they'll have to do without midfield engine Mitch Nichols for the next two weeks, while the Jets are yet to be beaten at their home ground this season. It sounds like it's all going against the Roar at once, but this is a special team and even with a stretched squad, they've got it in them to do the job. They'll take a point, at least.
Newcastle Jets squad: 1. Ben Kennedy (gk), 2. Taylor Regan, 4. Nikolai Topor-Stanley, 5. Tiago Calvano, 6. Ben Kantarovski, 7. Kasey Wehrman, 8. Jeremy Brockie, 10. Ruben Zadkovich, 11. Tarek Elrich, 12. Jobe Wheelhouse (c), 13. Sung-Hwan Byun, 14. Labinot Haliti, 17. James Virgili, 22. Ali Abbas, 23. Ryan Griffiths, 30. Jack Duncan (gk) *three to be omitted*
Brisbane Roar Squad: 1. Michael Theoklitos (GK), 2. Matt Smith (Capt.), 3. Shane Stefanutto, 5. Ivan Franjic, 6. Erik Paaratlu, 7. Besart Berisha, 8. Massimo Murdocca, 10. Henrique, 11. Issey Nakajima-Farran, 14. Rocky Visconte, 16. Mohamed Adnan, 18. Luke Brattan, 19. Jack Hingert, 21. James Meyer, 22. Thomas Broich, 30. Matt Acton (GK) *one to be omitted*