Preview: Queensland Roar v Newcastle Jets
These two teams played out a thrilling preliminary final last season, with Newcastle getting the spoils, but much has changed since then.
Date: Friday September 19 Kick-off: 8pm AEST Venue: Suncorp Stadium TV and Radio: Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports 2 and delayed coverage on Sky Sports 2. To purchase tickets visit www.ticketek.com.au
Head-to-head 10 A-League meetings: Queensland - 3 wins, Newcastle - 5 wins Draws - 2
Previous meeting Newcastle 3 Queensland 2, Energy Australia Stadium, Preliminary Final, February 2008
Results so far Queensland: Round 1: Wellington Phoenix 1, Queensland Roar 1, Westpac Stadium Round 2: Queensland Roar 1, Adelaide United 1, Suncorp Stadium Round 3: Queensland Roar 2, Central Coast Mariners 4, Suncorp Stadium Round 4: Perth Glory 0, Queensland 3, Members Equity
Newcastle: Round 1: Newcastle Jets 1, Central Coast Mariners 1, EnergyAustralia Stadium Round 2: Perth Glory 3, Newcastle Jets 3, Members Equity Stadium Round 3: Melbourne Victory 5, Newcastle Jets 0, Telstra Dome Round 4: Newcastle 0, Sydney FC 0, EnergyAustralia Stadium
Analysis These two teams played out a thrilling preliminary final last season, with Newcastle getting the spoils. Much has changed in the ensuing seven months at both clubs and both teams will be desperate for wins to keep a top-two spot well within reach.
Queensland has been patchy so far this season but bounced back well with a 3-0 win in Perth last week. It was its first win of the season and combined with draws against Wellington and Adelaide, has the Roar on five points, level with the fourth-placed Central Coast Mariners.
Charlie Miller has been the undoubted star of the season to date, netting for goals in as many games. He will become the first player in Australia domestic football to score in each of his first five games should he get past Ante Covic in this match. Miller's best mate Craig Moore got his name on the scoresheet, as did Mike McKay in the 3-0 victory. The Roar impressed defensively as well with Luke De Vere, Moore and Danny Tiatto making it hard for the Glory to score.
Frank Farina has few injuries worries apart from the fact Josh McLoughan and Isaka Cernak remain sidelined. He has brought Tim Smits and Ben Griffin into an extended squad to keep his option open ahead of Friday's match.
The Jets are still without a win this season, but Gary van Egmond would be pleased with the way his players stuck to their task against Sydney last week. It wasn't a match of a lot of chances and there must be some concern from the Newcastle coach about the form of his attacking players.
Danish import Jesper Hakansson and young gun Ben Kantarovski will miss this match through injury. Adam D'Apuzzo returns from suspension, while Kaz Patafta and Noel Spencer have been included.
Newcastle, which has three draws and a loss to its credit this year, will take much confidence from the fact that it has won every match it has played at Suncorp Stadium, and Queensland will be aware it needs to break the trend.
Queensland Roar Squad. 1 Liam REDDY (gk), 2 Andrew PACKER, 3 Luke DEVERE, 4 Craig MOORE, 6 Dave DODD, 7 Michael ZULLO, 8 Massimo MURDOCCA, 9 Sergio VAN DIJK, 10 Charlie MILLER, 11 Reinaldo, 12 Tahj MINNIECON, 14 Ben GRIFFIN, 15 Matt McKAY, 16 Hyuk-Su SEO, 18 Danny TIATTO, 20 Griffin McMASTER (rgk), 23 Tim SMITS. *two to be omitted.
In. Tim SMITS (promoted), Ben Griffin (promoted). Out. Nil. Unavailable. 5 Josh McCLOUGHAN (hip injury), 19 Isaka CERNAK (back injury).
Newcastle Jets Squad. 1. Ante COVIC (gk), 2. Adam GRIFFITHS, 3. Jade NORTH (c), 5. James HOLLAND, 7. Kaz PATAFTA, 8. Matt THOMPSON, 9. Joel GRIFFITHS, 10. Jin-Hyung SONG, 11. Tarek ELRICH, 12. Jobe WHEELHOUSE, 13. Adam D-APUZZO, 15. Jason HOFFMAN, 18. Noel SPENCER, 20. Ben KENNEDY (gk), 23. Edmundo ZURA, 25. Daniel PIORKOWSKI. *one to be omitted.
In. 7. Kaz PATAFTA (promoted), 13. Adam D-APUZZO (returns from suspension), 18. Noel SPENCER. Out. Jesper HAKANSSON (concussion - 1 week), 16. Ben KANTAROVSKI (knee - 1 week). Unavailable. 14 Shaun Ontong (ankle - indefinite).