Preview: The Sky Blues at Kogarah


It’s a clash of traditional rivals this Saturday afternoon, with the Jets travelling down the M1 Motorway to take on Sydney FC.

Pivotal is one word to describe this fixture for Newcastle, who are currently seven points out of the top six and looking to give their season a shot in the arm.

Last weekend was that 2-1 defeat against Melbourne Victory, who won it late with a strike from James Troisi.

SQUAD: Ernie’s men for Round 14

Saturday’s destination, Kogarah’s Jubilee Stadium, is an unknown for the Jets who are yet to play there in the Hyundai A-League.

Sydney are in good form currently, having won five of their last six matches in the Hyundai A-League.

Jets goal Sydney FC

Their last defeat was to Perth almost a fortnight ago, but they bounced back and beat Adelaide 2-1 last Sunday.

Key players are out for Sydney though, who will miss Rhyan Grant through international duty and Josh Brillante through suspension.

Team news

The ins for this weekend were met with some joy amongst Jets fans – Ronny Vargas back from suspension, and Joey Champness back from injury.

Champness has been biding his time after recovering from a foot injury and launching into full training, but it paid off with a goal in the NYL clash with Sydney last weekend.

He could be the difference late in the game, with Ernie Merrick indicating the livewire attacker will take a seat on the bench and is a big chance for a first Hyundai A-League appearance of the season.

Ivan Vujica has also been promoted into the squad after a number of appearances in the NYL, and may feature on Saturday.

Ben Kantarovski remains the only player unavailable through injury, while Daniel Georgievski is suspended after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season against Victory.

Ivan Vujica

From the boss

“Morale is very good among the boys, it always has been good at the Club,” Ernie Merrick said.

“The good thing about the games that we have been playing is that the boys have been working really hard to achieve the result, and at no stage has anyone taken the foot off the accelerator. 

“The football is good, we need to start winning games though. The longer we go without taking three points, the more stress the players will be under, and some can handle it and love it, some of them can’t.

“It’s better for the players if we start winning games. We’re doing almost everything right, and we’re continuing to work on that front third.

“Ronny will be back, Joey will be on the bench because I preferred to give him a run in the youth team than sit him on the bench last week. He did well, scored a goal, and he’s training really well.

“We’re looking at Glen Moss making a return – he’s our first team goalkeeper, so we’ll see how he feels.”