Preview: A Western Sydney showdown


The equation is getting tighter for the Jets, but a win on Friday night at ANZ Stadium would be a huge step in the right direction.

With 11 points separating Newcastle from that elusive top six, and 11 games to go, points are becoming an ever-increasingly precious commodity.

Last weekend, a strong Perth outfit battled hard and did the job over the Jets, with goals either side of half-time securing a 2-0 win out West for the Glory.

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The previous week, a gutsy performance saw Newcastle take all three points from the Central Coast Mariners and it might be that heart which the Jets need to call upon once again this weekend.

Rotation is likely too, with players returning from injury, leaving in the transfer window, and the boys in the midst of a packed schedule.

Daniel Georgievski WSW

Our opponents, the Western Sydney Wanderers, are five points behind the Jets on ten points in eighth on the ladder.

They’ve lost four of their last five games, and last weekend let three points slip after an inspired Brisbane Roar fought back to draw 2-2.

Team news

Mitch Austin has departed the Club for Sydney FC, and that means there’ll be at least one change in the side which faced Perth on Sunday.

There are three people promoted into the 18-man squad this weekend, with Nick Cowburn fresh after missing the trip to Perth last weekend.

Ben Kantarovski has been tracking well in his recovery from a groin injury but is unlikely to play the full 90 minutes.

After remaining in Newcastle for scheduled medical treatment last weekend, Johnny Koutroumbis returns to the mix and is an option for Ernie in the heart of the defence.

Joey Champness has been left out of this 18-man squad through niggling injuries, but it’s nothing serious and his absence is set to be a short one.

Ben Kantarovski Adelaide United

From the coach

“It’s all about that final pass, and about that decision to make the final pass, whether it be a cross, a short ball, and we seem to be delaying that decision,” Ernie Merrick said.

“Against Perth, I thought we had lots of opportunities to hit the crosses but we went backwards. So we reminded the boys of the goals we scored last year and predominantly, they came from low and hard crosses in behind the defence.

“I’ve been happy with the way the boys are playing, and I think in Perth we played good football and didn’t finish things off. We’re getting closer, and the effort is good.

“There won’t be too many changes… Johnny will probably be back in, he’s been playing well. Joey’s come back from 20 weeks on the sideline and he’s got a couple of little niggles. He’s very close and I’m keen to get him back, but I don’t want to take risks with him. 

“Dimi had a rest and came on in the second half against Perth, because of the three games in eight days and the travel, but I thought we did well when he came on and we’ll go back to starting him and Ronny.”