Jets to test their mettle against reigning champions


The Newcastle Jets are set to face off in a friendly with reigning Hyundai A-League champions, Sydney FC at Magic Park, Broadmeadow.

The match-up shapes as another test for Ernie Merrick’s side as the new look squad continues to progress through pre-season.

Merrick said the clash would be major challenge for the Jets as they build on their recent victories on the road.

“We took a big step forward with the (3 – 1) win against Melbourne City away from home and backed that up with a win against Canberra Olympic,” said Merrick.

“Aside from the wins themselves – which are always pleasing – the boys were able to take a lot from those friendly games, both technically and tactically.

“We’ve been able to find the back of the net in recent matches and now it’s time to see if we can score some goals against one of the league’s bigger outfits.”

With a squad that is home to names like Brosque, Bobô and Ninkovic; the Jets’ boss knows his team will have to be at their best.

“Sydney is a top team who possess a very talented squad, one that isn’t too dissimilar to that which went through last season only losing a single match,” Merrick added.

“They control the midfield really well, they’ve got fullbacks that like to get forward and they’ve got some of the best attacking players in the league.

“I’m looking forward to seeing how we can set up against them and control possession – this will be a great test for our defence.

Merrick indicated that the make up of his starting XI was progressing, with plenty of competition for spots – with strong form within the side’s junior ranks.

“There’s a position or two that we’re looking at to ensure we get the best fit and overall balance for the team.

“I wouldn’t say this week’s team is our round 1 side – but we’re definitely getting close.

“This fixture and the game against Wellington next week will be a great indication of how we’re tracking and the progress we’ve made to date.”

The Jets’ pre-season friendly with Sydney FC kicks of at 3pm at Magic Park, Broadmeadow.