Preview: Welcoming the Sky Blues to Newcastle


On Saturday, Newcastle will welcome the league leaders, Sydney FC, and the Jets will be looking to take a big scalp.

Back-to-back Saturday home matches for the Jets will hopefully see another big crowd come out and support the boys, as they search for their first Hyundai A-League win of the season.

SQUAD: Remembrance Round squads are in

Key to victory at McDonald Jones Stadium will be converting front third dominance into goals – Ronnie Vargas was on fire with an incredible nine chances created against Victory last weekend, but with no reward.

With the international break looming, and Dimi Petratos the Jets sole representative in the Australia squad, taking three points from Saturday would be huge.

Sydney lost in the FFA Cup Final last Tuesday night in Adelaide but bounced back with a big 3-0 win over Melbourne City in Round 3.

Dimi Petratos Melbourne Victory

Despite a packed schedule, Sydney have managed to maintain a settled squad. Their starting XI from last weekend is unlikely to change too much.

The Jets will have to keep a close eye on striker, Adam Le Fondre, who scored a brace against City last Friday night.

Team news

There’s been some big news in the lead-up to Saturday’s match – Matt Ridenton is out.

The midfielder has picked up a calf strain and won’t play against Sydney, which means a return to the starting XI for Ben Kantarovski.

Angus Thurgate and Nick Cowburn have again been announced in an extended squad, and the former may earn his first spot in the squad proper this season on Saturday.

With the back four looking solid these past three weeks there’s unlikely to be any changes in the defensive third, but Ivan Vujica might have something to say about that.

In the final third, there’s been plenty of buzz around Mitch Austin and Kaine Sheppard coming off the bench and looking good. Could they force their way into the starting XI?

Ben Kantarovski

From the Assistant Coach

On the opening three rounds

“Performance-wise, we feel as if we’ve grown in all three games across the board. In Adelaide, we saw a few more signs that things were getting better and the game last weekend was near flawless for us.

“It’s just looking into that final third, and last year the difference at this point in time is probably goals scored.

“Our defence has been doing a marvellous job, controlling the game in the midfield, and now it’s just about putting the ball in the back of the net.”

“The big thing for us is that we’re creating a lot of chances. On the weekend, in the first half alone we had something like 23 entries into the front third.

We had big moments in the first 30 minutes…margins are very small, but we have full confidence in the players we put out that they can turn things around.”

On the squad

“It’s very hard [to make changes], you look across the board at individuals’ roles and responsibilities and I think everyone carried them through to pretty good effect at the weekend.

“Boys that are training well, Ernie is having a think about what we could change that will make a difference.

Sydney FC

“When Ben [Kantarovski] came into the game, his passing ability to play forward, his organisation off the ball was very good… it’s definitely something we’ll look at this week.”

On Sydney FC

“You look at the lead-up into last week’s game, you have a team [in Victory] that’s desperate for a win. This week, we play a team that’s sitting on seven points and playing very well at the moment.

“We hope that they come out and play a more open, expansive game, and that creates a more up-tempo game. That suits us, we want to play a more up-tempo game where there’s space in behind for us to attack.

Jets v Sydney