There are no days off for the Jets in what’s shaping as their busiest period of the season so far, with a trip to Perth beckoning.
The long weekend will see the boys head West to take on the league leaders, in a match which is crucial for both sides and their respective ambitions for the season.
SQUAD: Ins and outs for Ernie
Here are five big talking points ahead of the clash.
We got the job done in the F3 Derby without some seasoned heads, but on Sunday we’ll welcome back two veterans who are likely to have a big impact on proceedings.
Nigel Boogaard was rested on Wednesday night in order to keep him fresh for an upcoming, jam-packed schedule while Jason Hoffman sat out through suspension.
After Ernie Merrick deployed a 3-5-2 formation against the Mariners, could the boss ring in the changes once again to accommodate the pair?
Newcastle are facing three games in eight days – this the third of such a run, and the imposing trip to Perth is a spanner in the works.
Rotation is the flavour of the week though, and the approach from Ernie Merrick against the league leaders is one which will prove intriguing.
It follows last Saturday’s battle with Sydney in Kogarah, and Wednesday night’s F3 Derby clash with the Mariners.
Team of the week
The win over the Mariners was a gritty one, but there was enough quality to earn three players a spot in the Hyundai A-League Team of the Week.
Dimi Petratos and Kaine Sheppard were immense in the final third, with the latter scoring his third goal of the season early into the second half.
The other name in the side was Lachlan Jackson – the big man was absolutely immense in the defensive third, with a number of crucial interceptions to keep us in front.
Winning in Perth
The trip across the Nullarbor has long been regarded as a precarious one for the Jets, but we have won two of our last three matches in Perth.
Sunday evening will be a tall task, up against the league leaders who come into this match off the back of a scoreless draw with Adelaide.
A positive result against the Glory would be massive for the Jets in the context of the race for the finals – and recent history has shown it can be done.
Ernie Merrick promised changes midweek, and it was changes that we were given but it now begs a big question – what does Sunday’s side look like?
Five changes in the F3 Derby, many out of necessity, will be followed by at least a couple more this weekend with the return of Boogs and Hoffy, and the absence of Johnny Koutroumbis.