David Lowe previews Week 18 of the Hyundai A-League.
Round 18 of the Hyundai A-League represents the home corner for participants, as they balance up and prepare to dash down the straight towards the finals series.
With the exception of the postponed game between the Mariners and Gold Coast, the mid-week fixtures are complete, and all teams have eight games left to shape their season.
The Newcastle Jets did their chances of finals participation no end of good with a gutsy victory in Brisbane last weekend and have the opportunity to leap back into the top six with victory over Sydney FC at the Sydney Football Stadium on Sunday.
Currently two points adrift of Sydney on the league ladder, the Jets really need to get a result, in what is looming as a vital clash for both sides.
Both sides should be close to full strength and fans can expect a no holds barred, barnstorming encounter.
The Jets will be well on their way to 3 points if they can contain the impact and influence of Newcastle old boys Mark Bridge and Nicky Carle, with the latter key to Sydney's creativity. As always the battle for authority in midfield areas holds the key to how this match unfolds and the tactical battle will be intriguing.
Elsewhere in the league Adelaide face close to a must win game at home to Wellington on Friday night. The Mariners host Brisbane in the grand final rematch, yet that game may be superseded by the third instalment of the Melbourne derby, which follows it on Saturday night.
AAMI Stadium should be absolutely buzzing and while this is an important game for the momentarily misfiring Heart side, its absolutely massive for a Victory side in danger of missing the finals despite massive expectations.
The final game sees in form Perth host a Gold Coast side desperate for their first win since Boxing Day, on Monday evening in the West.