What we learnt: Sunday afternoon against Perth

It was a tight one on Sunday afternoon, with almost 7,000 dedicated Novocastrians turning out for Round 8 of the Hyundai A-League.

It was a frustrating affair in many ways for the assembled faithful, with the Jets spending a lot of time on the ball and in the right areas but without striking that killer blow.

REPORT: Glory strike lucky in Newcastle

Here’s what we learnt from Sunday.

Flexible formations

It’s not often you see a substitution in the first half for tactical reasons, but Ernie Merrick’s decision to do just that on Sunday demonstrated the flexibility among the Jets ranks.

Switching from the usual 4-2-3-1, and opting for a 3-5-2 in order to search for goals was a bold move early on from the boss.

The man substituted on, Jason Hoffman, looked lethal during his seven-minute stint in the first half and throughout the second half, with the Jets coming close to scoring immediately after Merrick changed things up.

Given the way in which the switch allowed Newcastle to bomb on and get into goal scoring areas again and again, could it be a shape that Jets fans see more of in the future?

Steven Ugarkovic Perth Glory

Domination and frustration

In many ways, Sunday afternoon played out like a frustrating game of Football Manager – a majority of the chances, the lions share of possession, but no goals at the end of it.

Newcastle enjoyed around 60% of the ball, let off more than five times the amount of shots the Glory did, completed 550 passes to Perth’s 383, and created 18 chances. Perth created one.

And if one of those early chances had gone in, it would have been a completely different ball game.

Midfield magicians keeping on

Two of the key cogs in all of that domination are the incredible midfield duo of Dimi Petratos and Ronny Vargas.

Rated #1 and #3 in the league for chances created respectively, the pair were immense on Sunday despite not finding the back of the net.

Dimi created eight chances, had 101 touches of the ball, and boasted a passing accuracy of more than 89%.

Dimi Petratos
Dimi sent in ten crosses, with 40% finding their target.

Ronny found himself on the ball 98 times, passed at an accuracy of 93.3% and created three chances.

On another day, it could have been half a dozen for the Jets. There is a player available this weekend who might relish being at the end of that many chances…