Five Things: Chasing Victory in Melbourne

The Jets will head south again this week, as they go back-to-back in Melbourne, this time against the Victory at AAMI Park on Saturday night.

It will be stern test for Ernie Merrick’s side, as they come up against one of the competition’s frontrunners.

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It will be a fired up Jets outfit jumping on a plane to Melbourne, so lets look at the talking points ahead of Saturday.

Ronny sidelined

It was a fixture marred in controversy for a number of reasons, namely Vargas’ send off in the 25th minute of the match – after accruing a dubious second yellow card.

The Venezuelan maestro will now miss our return trip to Victoria, as he sits out an obligatory one-match suspension.

The questions must now be asked, what will Merrick do with his midfield? With a healthy squad at his disposal, there’s plenty of attacking options for the Scotsman to deploy.

Melbourne City
Controversy reigned at AAMI Park on Sunday

Roy on fire

His return was much awaited and it’s delivered in spades, with Roy netting three goals in as many matches to kick-start his 2018/19 season.

He won't score an easier goal than the opener against City last week, as he almost walked the ball into the net after an error from Eugene Galekovic.

Add a cheeky toe poke home against the Roar and a classic strikers header against the Reds and it’s plain to see that our favourite Irishman is well on the way back to his best.

Déjà vu

Same trip, same stadium, different opposition. We’re back at AAMI Park for the second time in two weeks to face the Victory.

It’s our third trip to the southern state since the start of the season, with the Jets due to play away to both Victorian teams twice during this campaign.

It will be the boys’ last outing at the shared venue, with their next fixture against Victory to be played in Geelong.

Nikolai Topor-Stanley
Topor-Stanley has been rock solid at the back

Durability plus

Nikolai Topor-Stanley has been picking off a few records since his return to the Hunter at the beginning of the 2017/18 season.

Having struck up a strong partnership in the centre of defence with Nigel Boogaard, the imposing central defender has been a constant in Ernie Merrick’s side.

Topor-Stanley has made 54 consecutive appearances – dating back to his first stint in the red and blue – which sits him fourth on the all-time list.

His overall appearance record now sees him sitting third in the Club’s history books after recently surpassing Matt Thompson (121).

Between the sticks

It was an unexpected turn of events when Glen Moss was substituted with a serious gash above his right knee against the Reds, as Lewis Italiano made his debut for the Club.

A difficult task for any ‘keeper, Italiano came on and was impressive in the second half against Adelaide and he backed that up against City on the road.

With Moss expected to have stitching removed from his leg this week, Merrick will have a tough call to make on who takes up the spot between the sticks.

Lewis Italiano
Italiano in action against the Reds