Preview: Blooding youth in Brisbane

Away in Queensland for the first time this season, Newcastle will be looking to take all three points on Saturday afternoon.

With a young squad named, it seems that Ernie Merrick is using this Round 26 clash with the Roar as a chance to blood some of that talented youth amongst his ranks.

He’s signalled a Jets debut is impending for Jack Simmons, while Angus Thurgate is also set to be propelled into the starting XI for just the second time.

“We’re building for next year,” coach, Ernie Merrick said on Tuesday.

“[Jack’s] vision and passing range belies his age because he is really aware of who is around him and the options he has available.

Jack Simmons


“It’s hard to find 16 or 17 year olds that have his technical ability or game awareness – it’s as good as anything I’ve seen for a player of his age."

The gauntlet has been thrown down for young Angus Thurgate to impress after it was indicated he’d start on Saturday – but he says he’s prepared.

"I'm ready ... I'm just willing to do whatever I can for the team," Thurgate said, speaking with media on Wednesday.

While the focus is on the future for Newcastle, one person who won’t be lacing the boots next season is Brisbane Roar captain, Matt McKay, who announced his retirement from the game during the week.

He’ll have two more matches to play before he hangs up the boots, and that’s sure to give the Roar something to play for given they’re also out of the finals running.

Joey Champness


Classy Frenchman, Eric Bautheac will miss out after receiving a late red card in Brisbane’s win over Wellington last weekend.

The stats in Brisbane make good reading for Jets fans – we’ve brought back all three points on our last three visits to Suncorp Stadium.

We’re without a defeat in our last five against Brisbane also, with a 2-1 win and 2-2 draw the results when we faced the Roar earlier in the season.

This is a clash which can’t do much to affect the Hyundai A-League ladder at this late stage of the season – Brisbane are virtually assured of 9th spot, while a point should secure Newcastle 7th.