Round 19 Match Preview: Brisbane Roar vs. Newcastle Jets

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Round 19 concludes on Sunday with the third meeting in the regular season between Brisbane and Newcastle. Brisbane have the chance to go ten points clear at the top of the table as the Wanderers have already played their round 19 fixture back in Mid-January and can take a massive step towards winning the Premiers Plate. Brisbane’s dismal record all up against the Jets continued in the last meeting between the two, with Newcastle having won 8 of 12 games in Brisbane.

Recent form:
Brisbane: DWWDL
Newcastle: LDLLD

Top Scorer:
Brisbane: Besart Berisha (8)
Newcastle: Adam Taggart (8)

Brisbane were below their best last week away to the Wanderers, with the hosts overrunning them in the second half. Despite that however they had their moments in the game, and still returned home with a point. Newcastle on the other hand dropped another three points at home to Wellington, although that doesn’t tell the full story. The game itself was an entertaining display with some quality goals within and despite not winning under Clayton Zane to date they have played well, including taking a point off the Wanderers a couple of weeks ago. These two sides play the game in a similar way with an emphasis on keeping the ball and playing on the deck. Newcastle are a side in something of a transitional phase given the change of coach, however they also need the three points if they intend to make a run at the finals with games running out.

Brisbane:
Going into this game Brisbane will have to do without the suspended Liam Miller, who picked up his fifth yellow card last weekend. That would likely see Steven Lustica make his first start on his return to Brisbane, with Franjic and Broich also expected to switch roles this week following the German’s relative ineffectualness last weekend. Despite Donachie’s decent form, there’s also a chance that Jack Hingert could return to the starting xi at right back. Also Matt McKay trained strongly this morning from all reports and is not yet fully ruled out of the starting side this week. It’s unlikely that Mulvey would risk him based on previous evidence, however if he did either Lustica or Hingert would be the likely omissions.

Expected Brisbane XI: Theo, Hingert, North, Smith, Stefanutto, Brattan, Lustica, Franjic, Petratos, Broich, Berisha.
Substitutes: Acton, Donachie, Ferreira, Henrique, Solórzano.
Omitted: Brown.

Newcastle:
New Jets coach Clayton Zane has yet to win a game having taken over from Gary van Egmond, and after last weeks home loss to Wellington hinted at changes to the side. What that means is anyone’s guess, but I think that new signing David Carney will make a first start for his new side, possibly at left back or further forward. With Nick Ward injured I wouldn’t be surprised if Josh Brillante shifts back into the midfield from right-back, especially given his dynamic performance in the last meeting. Upfront Emilie Heskey is back fit and could start upfront alongside Taggart, with Andrew Hoole suspended making an opening for the marquee player. If it’s not Heskey and Taggart upfront, it could be James Virgili providing the width. The top goal scorer in this fixture Joel Griffiths is suspended, which is a boost for Brisbane given his record up here.

Expected Newcastle XI:: Birighitti, Pepper, Jaliens, Regan, Carney, Caravella, Zadkovich, Brillante, Taggart, Heskey, Goodwin.
Substitutes: Kennedy, Chapman, Oxborrow, Bridges, Gibbs.
Omitted: Gallaway, Virgili.

Tale of the tape:
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So far this season:
Round 6: Newcastle Jets (Taggart 51’, 74’) 2-1 Brisbane Roar (Brattan 39’)
Round 11: Brisbane Roar 0-2 Newcastle Jets (O.G 34’, Gibbs 87’)

The Jets had the wood over Brisbane in Gary van Egmond’s time in charge, however with the coaching change that may no longer be the case. The first meeting this season was played on a waterlogged pitch and despite taking the lead, soft mistakes at the back cost Brisbane that day, along with what was a weakened and cobbled together midfield trio of North, Ferreira and Brattan. The second meeting in round 11 saw a pitch that was barely any better, and the Jets managed to control the game up here as well, with Brisbane not having their greatest night.

Conditions could be a bit headed on Sunday with temperatures expected to be well in excess of 30 degrees. kick-off on Sunday is set down for 4.30pm, with coverage on Fox Sports 2 and ABC Digital Radio Queensland.

In addition to the A-League side this weekend, the women’s team is on its way to Canberra today to take on the premiers in the semi-finals tomorrow afternoon. The girls have made the Grand Final in all but one season and will be looking to repeat the win they had over Canberra in their last meeting in round four. Coverage is unfortunately limited to just an hour long highlights package on ABC1 from 6.00pm- best of luck to the girls. Finally, the youth team play their final game of the season against the Wanderers tomorrow afternoon. Kick-off at Goodwin Park is from 2.30pm.

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