Have Victory turned the corner or did they just get lucky last weekend against an Adelaide team that were off their game?
Date: Friday, October 26, 2012 Kick-off: 7.30pm AEDT Venue: Hunter Stadium, Newcastle
Head-to-head: Played 21: Wins: Jets 10, Victory 7, Draws: 4
Previous encounter: Victory 1-3 Newcastle, March 3, 2012
Form: Past five matches: Newcastle: LWW Victory: LLW
The Game: Things are looking pretty rosy at Newcastle with back-to-back wins against Sydney and the Central Coast giving them a share of the competition lead.
Marquee man Emile Heskey is scoring goals and there's a real sense of optimism building over the style and structure of the Jets play. But despite having a great overall record against Victory, Newcastle have only beaten the Melbourne side three times in the last nine meetings.
Gary van Egmond does have the luxury of having a pretty settled squad with Scott Neville and James Brown the only first-team players unavailable. 20-year-old Josh Brillante is in line to make his first start at right-back.
The Victory finally got Ange Postecoglou's reign up-and-running with a much-needed come-from-behind 2-1 win over Adelaide. They have also signed goal-keeper Nathan Coe this week to place serious pressure on fellow glovemen Tando Velaphi and Lawrence Thomas. Coe, who has been playing in Denmark for the last six years, could come straight into Melbourne's starting side providing his international clearance comes through in time.
The big issue: Newcastle - Van Egmond has put together a side with a good mix of experienced players and talented youngsters. But as can often be the case with youthful players, getting the best out of them week in, week out over a long season is sometimes hard to do.
Victory - There's no doubting Melbourne's attacking capabilities but the jury is still out on whether there is enough steel in defence. Adrian Leijer and Mark Milligan are one of the best defensive pairings in the league but do not get enough protection from the midfield. The addition of Coe does give them more stability between the posts and he may prove Postecoglou's best signing.
The game breaker: Marco Rojas - After a frustrating debut season for Victory, the New Zealand international appears to be returning to his best under the guidance of Postecoglou. He is playing with a smile on his face again and is not only starting attacks but finishing them off with two goals in two appearances for the season so far. If the Victory are to end their bad record against Newcastle Rojas will need to be to the fore at Hunter Stadium.
Prediction: Newcastle 2-1 Victory. Have the Victory turned the corner or did they just get lucky last weekend against an Adelaide team that were off their game?
There's no doubt the Victory players are starting to catch-on to Postecoglou's philosophy and game-plan. But it will take longer than the opening month of the season for them to get it just right. With Rojas, Marcos Flores and Archie Thompson in the side, the visitors can never be written off.
Who dominates the wide areas could well decide who prevails here. Goodwin and Virgili have been sensational so far and will fancy their chances up against Matthew Foschini and Adama Traore. Heskey's presence and power - and a newfound appetite for goals - might just give the home side the edge.