Five things: The Grand Final rematch

It’s been almost six months since the Jets played a competitive match in Newcastle, but on Saturday night they’re back on home soil.

And who better to face but 2018 Grand Final opponents Melbourne Victory?

SIGNED: Two Newcastle juniors sign senior contracts

Here are five things to watch this Saturday night.

The rematch

Every Jets fan remembers Saturday May 5, 2018 as the day that Newcastle hosted the first ever regional Hyundai A-League Grand Final.

It’s also a date that will sting for Novocastrians after the Jets went down 1-0 in controversial circumstances.

Newcastle’s record against Victory last season was mixed – two wins and two losses. Both those wins came at McDonald Jones Stadium.

Dimi Petratos Melbourne Victory

Facing his former club

One man who might be relishing the chance to show Victory just what he can do is former Melbourne winger, Mitch Austin.

Arriving from the Victory at the beginning of the pre-season, Austin has proved a handy pickup in his two cameos off the bench for Newcastle so far this campaign.

Well and truly on the mend from an ACL injury the derailed his 2017/18 campaign, expect a determined showing from the fleet-footed 27-year-old.

Fight for a midfield start

Matt Ridenton and Steve Ugarkovic have started in the heart of midfield for both the Jets Hyundai A-League matches so far this season.

On Friday night though, Ernie Merrick showed his willingness to change things up and replaced the pair late in the second half with Ben Kantarovski and Nick Cowburn.

It means that all four players fighting it out for two midfield positions are fit, firing, and have Hyundai A-League minutes under their belt this season.

That competitive edge can only be a good thing in the battle for places, and whoever gets the nod for the starting XI will need to fight hard to keep his place.

Steven Ugarkovic Adelaide United

Fire in the belly

After 11 Hyundai A-League games, Ronnie Vargas finally has a goal in Newcastle Jets colours under his belt.

The tricky Venezuelan showed his fantastic vision, drifting between two defenders to side-foot home a precise Jason Hoffman cross in the second half against Adelaide.

Jets fans will be hoping that with one goal come many more – and Ronnie will be determined to put his best foot forward at home this Saturday night.

A big crowd

Since the Hyundai A-League kicked off back in 2005/06, the first home game of the new campaign has always drawn a big crowd.

The average number for the season’s debut game at McDonald Jones Stadium is just under 12,000 but think about the platform that Newcastle laid down back in May.

Almost 30,000 turned out last time the Jets played Melbourne Victory on home soil. On Saturday, expect a big, boisterous, parochial Newy crowd.