ON THIS DAY: 17 September

What happened in Newcastle Jets history on September 17 2006? Milton Rodriguez probably remembers...

It's fair to say the Jets’ start to the second season of the Hyundai A-League hadn’t gone according to plan for new coach Nick Theodorakopoulos. His team were sitting last on the table having suffered consecutive losses after an opening day draw with the New Zealand Knights, and faced another tough match against inaugural Champions Sydney FC away in round 4 of the competition. 

The starting line-ups were:

Sydney FC Newcastle Jets
1. Clint Bolton (Gk) 20. Ben Kennedy (Gk)
2. Iain Fyfe 3. Jade North
3. Alvin Ceccoli 6. Andrew Durante
4. Mark Rudan 12. Paul Okon
21. Nikolai Topor-Stanley 24. Paul Kohler
10. Steve Corica 8. Matt Thompson
11. Sasho Petrovski 10. Nick Carle
15. Terry McFlynn 15. Stuart Musialik
16. Mark Milligan 9. Vaughan Coveny
9. David Zdrilic 18. Joel Griffiths
14. Alex Brosque 19. Mark Bridge

From the outset Sydney FC dominated the match with the Jets struggling to assert themselves in attack. Vaughan Coveny made way after 21 minutes and was replaced by recent signing, Colombian striker Milton Rodriguez. His introduction, however, did little to immediately help the Jets after Sydney were awarded a penalty by referee Matthew Breeze in the 33rd minute. The penalty was duly converted by Steve Corica. Sydney continued to press and doubled their lead on the 38th minute mark when David Zdrillic headed home past young goalkeeper Ben Kennedy.

In the moments before half time, the Jets managed to create their first real opportunity when Nick Carle played through to Rodriguez who scored past Clint Bolton. This goal was followed up shortly after the break with a second goal to Rodriguez following a quickly taken free kick in the 63rd minute. Sydney FC would finish the match with 10 men after Corica received a straight red for a bad challenge and the match would end as a 2-2 draw in front of 15,488 people.

The 2006/07 season would be one of the most memorable for the Jets. After being winless and last after seven matches, Gary van Egmond took control of the team and helped the Club reach the finals. The Jets were eventually eliminated by Adelaide United on penalties in the Preliminary Final. Rodriguez, the second player to score for the Jets in a Hyundai A-League debut, made 21 appearances in his only season with the Club, scoring 7 goals and achieving cult hero status in the process.