Crunch time for the Jets


Clayton Zane believes it is make or break time for the Jets ahead of Saturday’s clash with Wellington Phoenix at Hunter Stadium.

Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets interim head coach Clayton Zane believes it is make or break time for the Jets ahead of Saturday-s clash with Wellington Phoenix at Hunter Stadium.

With four Hyundai A-League fixtures remaining, three of which are at home, Zane said crunch time was now for the Jets.

“I-ve been here for 12 games and I-ve sort of broken that down into three blocks of four,” Zane said.

“Entering the last block of four, we-ve done well to stay in touch with the pack, but it-s make or break time and the players are aware of that.

“It-s hard to do the maths on the current situation based on a lot of teams playing each other, but there are four games remaining and we-re setting out to win four.”

Zane said the Jets would be looking to atone for their 3-2 loss to Wellington at Hunter Stadium when the two sides last met back in Round 18.

“We let ourselves down in the last fixture at home against Wellington,” Zane said.

“They-re a very unpredictable team and they-re a team that if they stretch you out they have the players that can hurt you in the front third.

“We-ve done a little bit of work on that throughout the week to make sure that our defensive structure is right.”

The Jets have traditionally struggled against the Phoenix, but Zane said history would have little bearing on the outcome of Saturday-s match.

“Statistics are great when they-re in your favour, but they-re not something that I bring up to try and use as a tool to get the best out of my players,” Zane said.

“I think the fact the Finals Series is on the line, it doesn-t make a difference who we-re playing week-on-week.

“There-s four games, I don-t care who the opposition is, they-re four games we-ve got to win.

“All I can do is get them ready from a tactical point of view and I-m sure you-re going to see 11 hungry players walk out onto the field this weekend.

“We have some players that are coming into form in the front third. Taggart has been really good and Emile-s turned into a 90 minute player who we can rely on after the injury problems he had earlier in the season.

“I-m confident that Carney and Griffiths have goals in them as well and it was great to see Joel get his first goal since returning to the Club last week and hopefully he can build on that in the run-in and get a couple more in the last few matches.”

Newcastle Jets v Wellington Phoenix
Saturday, March 22
Hunter Stadium
Kick-off 5.30pm
Tickets available from PROticket.