The fate of the Newcastle Jets’ 2012/13 A-League campaign rests on the result of Friday’s clash with Western Sydney.
After six months of gruelling pre-season training, 26 rounds of intense A-League competition and 2,340 minutes of game time, the fate of the Newcastle Jets- 2012/13 campaign rests on the result of Friday-s clash with Western Sydney Wanderers at Hunter Stadium.
Nothing less than all three points will be enough for the Jets to clinch a spot in the A-League Finals Series.
“It is what it is,” Jets captain Ruben Zadkovich explained.
“It-s the biggest game of the season and it just so happens to be the last game of the season against the top team at home.
“I don-t think Gary (van Egmond) will have to say too much to the players, we all know how big an occasion this is.
“These are the moments that you train hard all season for and we really want to step up and show our true colours.”
While a win will give the Jets the best possible chance to finish in the top six, they will still be forced to rely on the results of other Round 27 matches to go their way in order to make the playoffs.
Zadkovich said the Jets- sole focus is on their own must-win clash.
“At this stage I-m really confident that we can get a result, and the rest is going to be fate I guess and we-ll see what happens with the other games,” Zadkovich said.
“We-re just focused on doing our best in front of our home fans in the last game of the season.
“I think it-s a real chance for us to make a statement, irrespective of if we make the finals or not, it-s a really good chance to show how good a team we are.”
Adding further spice to the clash is the fact that a draw or better will be enough for the Wanderers- to secure the Premiers- Plate in the first season in the competition.
“They-ll be playing as hard as they have been in past weeks,” Zadkovich said.
“It-s no fluke that they-ve gone on a run of games like they have. They-ve got a great mentality in their squad and a good leader in Popovic, who is a great coach.
“He really instils that belief in their team and I-m sure they-re going to be out here to sew up the Premiers- Plate.
“We-ve got everything to play for, trying to secure that last finals spot, so I think it really makes for a great spectacle.” With no match last weekend, the Jets have had two weeks to study their opponents in the lead-up to the fixture, which Zadkovich believes will be an advantage to the home side.
“It-s probably a good situation for us,” he said.
“We can treat this game a little bit like a one off, like a cup match, really have a look at the opposition and analyse how they go about things, really work on what we want to do to counteract their play.
“In front of our home fans and on our home pitch, it-s going to be a really competitive match.”
Jets supporters are encouraged to pre-purchase their tickets for Friday's clash with the Wanderers from PROticket to secure the best seats and avoid queues on the day.
Newcastle Jets v Western Sydney Wanderers Friday, March 29 Hunter Stadium Kick-off 5.30pm Tickets from PROticket