Preview: Newcastle Jets v Brisbane Roar
Clashes between Newcastle and Brisbane tend to produce results, rather than draws, with just two of their 13 encounters ending in stalemates.
Date: Saturday September 12 Kick-off: 5:30pm AEST Venue: EnergyAustralia Stadium, Newcastle TV and Radio: Live & exclusive broadcast on Fox Sports 1. To purchase tickets visit www.proticket.com.au
Head-to-head Played 13: Wins: Newcastle 6, Brisbane 5. Draws: 2
Previous meeting Queensland Roar 2, Newcastle Jets 1, Suncorp Stadium, Round 15, December 2008
Season so far: Newcastle Jets: Round 1: Newcastle Jets 3, Wellington Phoenix 2, EnergyAustralia Stadium Round 2: Central Coast Mariners 1, Newcastle Jets 1, Bluetongue Stadium Round 3: Perth Glory 2, Newcastle Jets 0, ME Bank Stadium Round 4: Newcastle Jets 1, Gold Coast United 0, EnergyAustralia Stadium Round 5: Melbourne Victory 1, Newcastle Jets 1, Etihad Stadium
Brisbane Roar: Round 1: Brisbane Roar 1, Gold Coast United 3, Suncorp Stadium Round 2: Melbourne Victory 3, Brisbane Roar 3, Etihad Stadium Round 3: Brisbane Roar 1, Wellington Phoenix 1, Suncorp Stadium Round 4: Brisbane Roar 1, Central Coast 0, Suncorp Stadium Round 5: North Queensland Fury 1, Brisbane Roar 1, Dairy Farmers Stadium
Analysis: In the space of four days Newcastle confounded the doubters to produce two excellent results against highly-rated opposition and gave an indication of the potential Branko Culina's squad has for improvement this year.
The memories of last year's wooden-spoon have all been erased by the win over Gold Coast and the 1-1 draw with Melbourne which propelled the Jets to fourth on the table, just four points off the top. As a measure of how far the Jets have come, the club collected eight points from its last 13 games last year.
Culina admitted after the Melbourne game that he is still working out how to get the best out of his team, and the fact that the player who scored the equaliser in that match, Labinot Haliti, was only included at the very last moment, shows how raw the Jets are. The experienced coach readily admitted to multiple changes of formation over the course of the 90 minutes as he bids to get the most out of a young squad.
Fabio Vignaroli returns for this match in a big boost for the Jets. While they were able to eke a point out of the Melbourne match, they missed the diminutive Italian's direction in the midfield for much of the game. The experienced Sasho Petrovski returns also after being unable to come-up off a four-day break last time, while young striker Jason Naidovski comes into an extended squad.
Ben Kantarovski has an ankle injury and will miss this game then fly off to Egypt for the FIFA Under 20 World Cup, while Jobe Wheelhouse is another 1-2 weeks away with his knee injury and Shaun Ontong and Marko Jesic won't be back in the short-term.
From a club which was expected to struggle but has surprised to a club which many expected to shine, but has battled to get its season going. The Roar have six points from five games and have only lost one game, that being the first one against Gold Coast.
But there is a sense that Frank Farina's men are far from their best, with captain Craig Moore indicating after the 1-1 draw with North Queensland last week that things have gone a little flat. Given Brisbane is missing two of its most influential midfielders of last season in Matt McKay and Massimo Murdocca and has struggled to get both Charlie Miller and Danny Tiatto to play a full 90 minutes, it's probably not surprising they are lacking the dominance they had last year in the middle of the park.
But perhaps their fortunes turned a little bit late in that match in Townsville with Mitch Nichols deflecting in a shot to earn the visitors a share of the points. Nichols' first goal could be the spark he needs to put a frustrating start to the season behind him and reclaim his spot in the starting line-up.
With Robbie Kruse having departed for Melbourne this week, Nichols' form will be even more important to the Roar's potency up forward and he needs to work on his combination with Sergio van Dijk. David Dodd has been omitted from last week's squad, while Tommy Oar, who is off to Egypt on Monday, Isaka Cernak and Ivan Franjic have been promoted.
Brisbane defeated Newcastle twice last season, but the Jets won the three previous matches before that including the 2008 Preliminary Final. Clashes between these two tend to produce results, rather than draws, with just two of their 13 encounters ending in stalemates.
Newcastle Jets squad: 1. Ben KENNEDY (gk), 2. Angelo COSTANZO, 3. Adam D-APUZZO, 4. Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY, 5. Ljubo MILICEVIC, 7. Jin-Hyung SONG, 8. Matt THOMPSON (c), 9. Sasho PETROVSKI, 10. Donny DE GROOT, 11. Tarek ELRICH, 15. Sean ROONEY, 16. Jason HOFFMAN, 17. Fabio VIGNAROLI, 19. Jason NAIDOVSKI, 20. Neil YOUNG (gk), 22. Kaz PATAFTA, 24. Chris TRIANTIS, 25. Labinot HALITI *three to be omitted*
In: Sasho PETROVSKI (return from injury), Fabio VIGNAROLI (return from injury), Jason NAIDOVSKI (return from injury)
Unavailable: 6. Ben KANTAROVSKI (ankle - 1 week), 12. Jobe WHEELHOUSE (ankle - 1/2 weeks), 13. Shaun ONTONG (achilles - indefinite), 18. Marko JESIC (knee - indefinite)
Brisbane Roar squad: 1. Liam REDDY (gk), 3. Luke DEVERE, 4. Craig MOORE (c), 5. Josh McCLOUGHAN, 9. Sergio VAN DIJK, 10. Charlie MILLER, 11. REINALDO, 12. Matt MUNDY, 13. HENRIQUE, 16. Bob MALCOLM, 17. Mitch NICHOLS, 18. Danny TIATTO, 19. Isaka CERNAK, 20. Griffin McMASTER (gk), 21. Tommy OAR, 27. Ivan FRANJIC. *two to be omitted*
In: Tommy OAR (promoted), Isaka CERNAK (promoted), Ivan FRANJIC (promoted)
Out: David DODD (omitted), Robbie KRUSE (moved clubs)
Unavailable: Andrew PACKER (adductor - 2/3 weeks), Massimo MURDOCCA (fractured leg - 3/4 months), Matt McKAY (medial ligament - 6/8 weeks)
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