The Hyundai A-League is often defined by consistency but finals football is a different matter. Newcastle Jets have turned their season around – but do they lack the individual brilliance to make an impact? Have your say...
The Hyundai A-League is often defined by consistency but finals football is a different matter.
One-off or two legged games where everything is at stake create an entirely different set of pressures, and though players will tell you “it-s just another game” - it-s not.
And it-s in these games where those individual moments, those flashes of brilliance, unpredictable and often unrepeatable - see previous season-s scorchers from the likes of Fabian Barbiero or Mark Bridge - that make the difference.
Newcastle Jets have turned their season around - but do they have the players to make that difference? Have Your say below...
Yes The Jets have changed under Gary van Egmond. If “Dutchy” knows one thing, it-s how to turn a disparate group into a team.
He also had the benefit of inheriting a squad from Branko Culina, who, although not always successful, did aim to build a side on fluid, passing football.
The Jets don-t have any real stars. They can-t boast of Qantas Socceroos like Harry Kewell or Brett Emerton, or gifted imports such as Thomas Broich Paul Ifill.
But that didn-t stop them very recently thumping Kewell-s Melbourne Victory 3-1, or spanking Emerton-s Sydney FC 5-2, or inflicting a 1-0 defeat on champions Brisbane Roar, all away games.
Organisation, teamwork, clear strategy and commitment - the Jets have all that under van Egmond.
In Jeremy Brockie and Ryan Griffiths, they also have the second and third top scorers in the competition, behind Roar-s Berisha (who, let-s face it, rarely scores outside the six-yard box) - they might not have the star power of their opposition but they certainly have players more than capable of creating and finishing chances against any team in the league.
The week 12 5-2 loss to Wellington Phoenix was the low point, but since then the Jets have played 13, conceded 14 and scored 21.
I-ll admit they may not yet have what it takes to go all the way to the grand final, but that kind of form is certainly enough to prove they have the capacity to inflict some serious damage this finals series.
No It-s hard to argue that the Jets have not been one of the form teams of the second half of the 2011/12 Hyundai A-League season. Gary van Egmond-s style is working for them, pressing other teams high up the pitch with an aggressive defence, all the while keeping a high line.
Some of their wins were over big names too. Impressive results, but when it comes down to it, Newcastle don-t have that X-factor. They lack star power.
They are a modest squad without a standout star, and modest squads don-t win championship, in any sport. Not in modern times anyway.
The last five season of the AFL has seen Geelong, Collingwood and Hawthorn win flags. Geelong and the Pies have a slew of stars, while the Hawks have the best forward of the current generation in Buddy Franklin.
The NRL has seen Melbourne Storm triumph twice (albeit stripped of both titles) and they had a host of big names. Manly triumphed twice with the likes of Anthony Watmough and Brett and Glenn Stewart to name a couple and a Dragons team with Darius Boyd, Matt Cooper and Mark Gasnier in the side won the other.
Brisbane Roar won the competition last year and might just be the best team the league has seen. Thomas Broich and Besart Berisha are brilliant at their best and they have a host of players behind them pushing for that status.
2010 Premiers Sydney had John Aloisi (even though he didn-t feature in the decider), Simon Colosimo at his peak, Karol Kisel at the same and Stephan Keller.
The ‘09 Victory side had Archie Thompson, Carlos Hernandez and Kevin Muscat, and even the Jets themselves, back in ‘08 had a host of guns in the squad when they claimed their only A-League title.
This year their best are Jeremy Brockie, Ruben Zadkovich and Nikolai Topor-Stanley; no disrespect, but if that-s hardly star quality. Certainly not enough to win a championship.