Preview: Jets take on Adelaide

It’s a second week on the road for Ernie Merrick’s men, as they head to Adelaide to take on the Reds in a fixture that is becoming familiar to the Novocastrians.

The Round 2 clash will be the 14th Friday night fixture in Adelaide between the two clubs.

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After an opening round loss to Wellington – featuring a controversial intervention from the VAR – the Jets will be looking to build on a solid performance against the Reds.

The combination of Dimi Petratos and Ronald Vargas is an exciting one for Jets fans, as the two looked very comfortable in the centre of the pitch. Both will no doubt play a big role if the Jets are to secure a positive result away from home.

Ronald Vargas Wellington Phoenix
Ronald Vargas was a standout in the opening round against Wellington

The Reds will present a tough opposition, full of confidence from a pre-season run into the FFA Cup Final and an opening round draw against the Sky Blues.

News from the Adelaide camp suggests that new recruit, Mirko Boland will miss the clash with the Jets through injury, while Baba Diawara and George Blackwood have been named in an extended squad following recent knee and calf complaints respectively.

Team news

It’s a quick turnaround for the Jets – with a Sunday game in Wellington into a Friday night in Adelaide – and the boys trained strongly across a few short sessions.

Pre-season 2018/19 – Day 1
Ben Kantarovski is pushing for selection

Ben Kantarovski has scored three of the Jets last four goals at Coopers Stadium, and he’ll be hopeful of returning to the match day squad – and getting on the scoresheet – after a strong week on the training pitch.

It seems the tough-as-nails midfielder has overcome the calf injury that saw him miss the opening round and will leave Ernie Merrick with some tough decisions on the make up of his midfield.

It was a light week for Glen Moss after being on the end of some heavy treatment at the set piece against the Phoenix, but the Kiwi shot-stopper is in no doubt to take his place between the sticks in Round 2.

From the boss

On Round 1

“A lot of people had asked why we played Lachlan Jackson at right back – given he’s a left footer – but we actually played with three centre backs Nigel, Nikolai and Lachlan and it worked really well,” Merrick said.

“The Phoenix struggled to break us down and didn’t manage to get a shot on target in the first half, and overall we were defensively very sound.

Ernie Merrick
Ernie Merrick on the sidelines during the pre-season

“Ronny was outstanding the whole match, his endurance, his ability to run at players was first class and he combined well with Dimi who scored a rocket of a goal.

On the road again

“The preparation this week has been good, we’ve got Ben Kantarovski back in the squad and the boys are upbeat because they know they played very well [in Round 1].

“Unfortunately, it’s another game on the road and we can't wait to get home to McDonald Jones Stadium, we’re looking forward to playing in front of our home fans.

The opponents

“Adelaide – like most teams across the league – have improved enormously and have signed a couple of quality overseas players.

“They’ll take confidence from the way they played against Sydney last week, but we’ll be well prepared thanks to a strong pre-season and we’re looking forward to it.

The Jets get Round 2 of the Hyundai A-League 2018/19 season started on the road to Adelaide United on Friday, 26 October at Coopers Stadium. Kick-off is at 7:50pm (ADST), with the match broadcast live on Fox Sports and the MyFootball App.

Ivan Vujica
Ivan Vujica in action in the 2017/18 season.