Phoenix trial to provide good litmus test for Jets

Craig Deans says Saturday’s pre-season trial match between the Jets and Wellington will be a good litmus test for both Clubs.

Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets assistant coach Craig Deans says Saturday-s pre-season trial match between the Jets and Wellington Phoenix at Rockwell Automation Park will be a good litmus test for both Clubs.

The fixture will be the Jets- first hit-out against Hyundai A-League opposition this pre-season, while Wellington will be playing their second such match after suffering a 2-1 defeat to Western Sydney Wanderers on Wednesday night.

“It-s always interesting when you play your first trial game against another A-League team because it-s a chance to compare yourself to where they-re at,” Deans said.

“It-s always a tough game against Wellington, so it-ll be a good challenge and from that point of view, we-re looking forward to it.”

The Jets will travel to Napier to face the Phoenix in the third round of the Hyundai A-League season.

Deans said Newcastle would be using Saturday-s fixture to do some reconnaissance on their opponents prior to facing them during the season proper.

“This game will be good for us in a few different ways I think,” he said.

“It-s a chance to spend some more time working on the way we want to play against a good opposition.

“We also get to see Wellington for the first time with Ernie Merrick as their coach, so I think their style of play will change a fair bit from previous years.

“We play them quite early in the season proper so from an analysis point of view it-s good as well.”

Deans said he expected the Jets to field a strong line-up during Saturday-s match.

“We-ve got to get a balance between being mindful of how many minutes people play, but at the same time we-re playing against an A-League opposition, so we have to make sure we-re competitive for the whole 90 minutes,” Deans said.

Newcastle Jets v Wellington Phoenix Rockwell Automation Park, Weston Saturday, August 24th Kick-off 4.30pm