Round 16 Match Preview: Newcastle Jets vs. Brisbane Roar

Jets (A)
After getting the result late on Monday night, Brisbane continue their attempt at a second half resurgence tomorrow night down in the Hunter against a depleted Newcastle side that are at a seemingly all-time low. The result was a much needed one for Brisbane, who are trying to overturn what was a 7 point gap to 6th placed Melbourne City, which would be reduced to just one if Brisbane get the three points tomorrow night.

Just on Monday night briefly before turning the focus to tomorrow nights game, Brisbane played well against what is a tough Wellington side- particularly in the second half. From all reports Thijssen had the squad undergo an extensive fitness regime over the break, and it seemed to pay dividends with Brisbane getting stronger the longer the game went and eventually overrunning the Phoenix.

Player wise I thought that the returning Thomas Broich and Michael Theo did reasonably well for the most part, particularly Broich, and both will be better for the run. The other players who stood out to me were Adam Sarota and Jean Carlos Solórzano, who both seemed to be much sharper and two of the players to benefit the most from the break. Tactically, in the first half it seemed like Brisbane were trying to play forward too quickly, with a number of forward passes not finding their marks, with the more disciplined approach they took in the second creating more chances.

Back onto this week’s game however and after getting the win on Monday against a good Wellington side, it’s likely that Thijssen will stick with the team that got him the result on Monday. His only decision wether or not he decides to bring the returning Jade North back into the side, and if he does which defender does he drop from the side to accommodate him. Both Luke DeVere and Andrija Kaluderovic are both once again left out of the matchday squad this week, however both have trained all week and I think there’s a chance that Kaluderovic is included on the bench tomorrow night. Devante Clut is the unlucky man dropped from the squad to make way for North’s return.

Expected Brisbane XI: Theo, Polenz, North, Donachie, Brown, Sarota, Brattan, McKay, Borrello, Solórzano, Broich.
Substitutes: Young, Bowles, Stefanutto, Lustica, Danning.
Omitted: Nil.

From the Jets perspective, the fallout since their last game against Adelaide where they got demolished 7-0 has been staggering. Since then, the under siege owner Nathan Tinkler, who has his own issues to deal with, with the FFA breathing down his neck has wielded the axe in the squad removing six senior players and a bunch of coaches in support of his head coach Phil Stubbins.

Going out include Joel Griffiths, Billy Celeski, Kew Jaliens, Adrian Madaschi, David Carney and finally this week Jeronimo Neumann, in addition to the assistant coach Clayton Zane, Goalkeeper coach Neil Young and fitness coach Andrew Packer. Coming in the list isn’t nearly as long, with Daniel Mullen, Tom Cooper, Jess Vanstrattan and Korean Lee Ki-Je joining the squad.

Selection wise it’s tough to know what Stubbins will do given the upheaval he’s undertaken of his squad, however it’s expected that Daniel Mullen will partner Taylor Regan in defence, while Tom Cooper is potentially in line to start out on the left. Korean Lee Ki-Je is in doubt for this game, as he’s still waiting for international clearance, with Sam Gallagher expected to deputise if it doesn’t arrive in time.

Expected Newcastle XI: Kennedy, Neville,  Mullen, Regan, Ki-Je, Hoole, Kantarovski, Caravella, Pepper, T. Cooper, Montano.
Substitutes: Vanstrattan, Gallagher, Welsh, M. Cooper, Pavicevic.
Omitted: Cowburn.

Recent form:
Brisbane: WLDDW
Newcastle: LDLLW

Top Scorer:
Brisbane: Henrique (7)
Newcastle: Edson Montano (2)

This season:
Round 6: Newcastle Jets 0-4 Brisbane Roar (Henrique 49’, 72’, 89’, Lustica 66’)

The first meeting between these two sides seems like a lifetime ago for both sides, with Brisbane running out 4-0 winners on that night thanks to a second half hat-trick from Henrique. This was the only time this season that Brisbane looked like the side who won the double last season, with slick passing build-up through the lines resulting in a host of chances for the front third players. Brisbane were in almost complete control that night against a poor Newcastle side playing arguably their best game of the season, however despite all the upheaval in Newcastle since their last game, this game promises to be a much closer contest than that.

All time record against Newcastle Jets:
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All signs point towards a Brisbane win tomorrow night, with the visitors regaining their form and fitness, while the Jets are going through a tough time, but there’s something about that situation which always concerns me when a side is coming off of a big defeat. Kick-off is set for 6.30 Queensland time, with the game shown both on Fox and SBS.

Elsewhere this weekend, the National Youth League side are at home this weekend against Central Coast Mariners and will be looking to close the gap at the top of the table to Melbourne City and Perth. Going into the weekend, Brisbane sit 4th, seven points behind the leaders, however they’ve got a game in hand and will travel to Perth on the final day of the season. Kick-off on Saturday afternoon is from 3.00pm at Perry Park.

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