Preview: Maintaining the rage against Adelaide

With another F3 Derby win under our belts, the Jets will look to make it three wins from four matches on Sunday.

Up against an Adelaide side with just one point from their last three matches, Newcastle will be high on confidence after bringing back the goods from Central Coast Stadium.

The 2-1 win follows the defeat at home to Perth, a match which the Jets dominated but weren’t able to get it done over the league leaders.

TRIP TO JAPAN: How to win the ultimate ACL prize

With just a point separating the Jets (7th, 11 points) and Adelaide (6th, 12 points) this match could be the springboard into the mix for finals which Newcastle need.

So tight is the table, a win could even see the Jets jump all the way up into fourth place on the Hyundai A-League ladder.

Ronny Vargas
Ronny Vargas was destructive once again, scoring another goal in Gosford


The Reds shared the spoils in a 2-2 draw with Western Sydney on Boxing Day, which means there’s a much shorter turnaround between matches for Adelaide.

They’ll be without defender, Jordan Elsey, this weekend after he was sent off on Wednesday night.

Team news

Touch wood, things are positive in the Jets camp in terms of injuries at the moment and there’s just one player unavailable this weekend: Joey Champness.

The explosive striker is tracking well towards match fitness though, targeting a return to the pitch sometime in mid-January.

After playing 90 minutes each in the Y-League last weekend, both Nick Cowburn and Johnny Koutroumbis have been promoted to the squad this weekend.

Roy O’Donovan is in his second successive Hyundai A-League squad, and after a quiet but productive 80 minutes last weekend he’ll be looking to stamp his mark on the match this Sunday.

Roy O'Donovan
O'Donovan put in a strong shift in his return from suspension

From the boss

“Our physio and fitness guys have done a great job, because we don’t have any injuries,” Ernie Merrick said on Thursday.

“Joey Champness isn’t match fit but is only a week or two away, so we have a full complement. Games will come in rapid succession with a short break in between, so I’ll have to rotate to ensure we have a fresh team.

“The best thing for us [last weekend] was the travelling support, the number of Jets fans that came down to that match got us over the line. It was the biggest I’ve seen away from home since I’ve been at the club.

“We had 19 shots to the Mariners eight, so we have this ability to have a lot more scoring opportunities than our opposition. On another day, we would’ve got more.

“We expect that Adelaide will be coming here on Sunday for the three points and doing everything they can to get the win under their belt.

“I think it’s sensible to have the drinks break [in the hot weather], which is why we’re training in this. It must be over 30 degrees, and the boys are coping well, and that comes down to mental toughness.”

Rd 10 v ADL