Match Preview: Brisbane Roar vs. Newcastle Jets.

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After last week’s latest meltdown on the Central Coast, Brisbane face what is essentially a must win match in order to keep in touch with the top 6. Prior to the start of round 9 they sit in 9th place, just 3 points out of the top 6, but a massive 12 points behind league leading Adelaide. This week they’ll face a Newcastle side that have been both hot and cold at times this season.

Starting with the home side and the biggest selection dilemma is at centre defence where they’re missing the two central defenders from last week in Franjic and Smith. Jurman and Donachie are reportedly going to get their chance tonight and im confident that young Donachie will rise to the occasion. He hasn’t been in his best ever form at NYL level but he’s been solid enough and marginally better than Takahashi. As for Jurman- well, it is what it is, and as the ‘experienced’ one out their tonight he’ll have to step up based on recent showings. This is potentially a big 2 games in the career of Matt Jurman because two good showings here and he can be back in the 1st XI and potentially in line for a new contract. It could also go the other way and see Donachie cement his spot in the side leaving Jurman further down the pecking order.   

 

 

Elsewhere, the non-selection in the Socceroos squad of Ben Halloran allows Brisbane to maintain the same attacking trio behind Berisha if they so desire and I think they will do so. The one thing –other than their attacking role- that they’ll need to address is their work defensively as it hasn’t been up to standard recently. The trio behind Berisha haven’t been pressing as effectively which prevents them from winning the ball back further up the park, and they’re also not tracking the runners well enough either which results in the fullbacks and Paartalu being overloaded in 2 v 1 situations.  That’s why imo atleast Henrique was subbed last weekend for Nichols, even though you can argue he was equally as guilty. James Meyer is also back in the extended squad for the 1st time this season and while he won’t start, there’s a reasonable chance he’ll replace Nick Fitzgerald on the subs bench. He brings good NYL form (2 games, 2 goals) to the side and could be a very valuable option if were chasing the game.

Predicted Brisbane Roar starting line-up: Theo, Hingert, Donachie, Jurman, Stefanutto, Paartalu, Murdocca, Halloran, Henrique, Broich, Berisha.

Substitutes: Acton, Takahashi, Nichols, Meyer.

Omitted: Visconte, Dong-Hyun, Fitzgerald.

Newcastle are very much a hot and cold side and it’s tough to predict which Jets side will show up tonight. While they started out the season well and are currently 4th on the table they are winless in their past two matches with a very poor showing at home to Wellington and a 3-3 draw in which they made some basic errors costing them. Their style of game is similar to how Brisbane try and play in that they like the short passing out of defence. The big difference is in the final third where they’re not afraid to hit crosses –either early or from the by-line- into the box for Heskey to get on the end of, while Brisbane will probe for a way through/around the defence.

 

 

Craig Goodwin made a massive impact down the left hand side last week when he came on and is a sure thing to start tonight so that battle against Halloran and Hingert will be an interesting one. Upfront everyone is talking about the big man Emile Heskey who’s had a fantastic start to the season and will probably be relishing the thought of going up against and untried and inexperienced central defensive pairing tonight. In the midfield there are no true stars, just a few Australians who’ve managed to build up a solid understanding and will do the job required. Virgili if he plays is a threat down the wings aswell. In goals they’re severely depleted with both Birighitti and Kennedy out with injuries so short term signing Matt Nash and youth keeper Jack Duncan will be in the squad. Finally, even though he’s not in this squad, it’s great to see Chris Grossman get a chance at Newcastle, even if it is a short term one as injury replacement. I always liked Chris in the NYL side and thought he could have made a big contribution for Brisbane if given the chance.

Predicted Newcastle Jets starting line-up: Nash, Neville, Calvano, Chapman, Ritter, Zadkovich, Wheelhouse, Brown, Griffiths, Heskey, Goodwin.

Substitutes: Duncan, Mitchell, Virgili, Bridges.

Omitted: Vrteski, Pepper, Regan, Brillante, Ribeiro.

Stats:
Top scorer:

Brisbane: Besart Berisha (4)
Newcastle: Emile Heskey (5)

 

 

Assists:
Brisbane:
Thomas Broich (3)
Newcastle: Scott Neville, Ryan Griffiths (2)

Brisbane Roar all time record against Newcastle Jets:
Played 22: Won 8, Drawn 6, Lost 8.

At Suncorp Stadium:
Played 10: Won 1, Drawn 2, Lost 7.

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