Round 26 Preview- Brisbane Roar vs. Newcaslte Jets

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Round 26 sees Brisbane play their final home game of the regular season tomorrow against a Newcastle Jets side who hold an excellent record in Brisbane.

The race for the Premiership continues to tighten up with five teams still in the hunt for a top two spot entering the final two rounds of the season.

Last night saw Western Sydney move top, but Adelaide, Brisbane and Melbourne City will all have their chance to jump beyond the Wanderers before the end of the round.

For Brisbane specifically, they’ll likely need to win both of their remaining games to secure a third Premiers Plate, and they’ll also need Melbourne City to drop points in one of their games due to City’s far superior goal difference.

All of that however is to be decided in the final round, which means the focus is squarely on tomorrow’s game with Newcastle who have an excellent record in Brisbane with just three losses in 15 trips to Suncorp Stadium.

Last week saw Brisbane come from a goal down to defeat Sydney FC, although they had to do it the hard way. After Jamie Maclaren and Dimitri Petratos sent Brisbane in front, a late equaliser from Filip Holosko looked like securing the Sky Blues a point, only for Henrique to score direct from the kickoff to send Brisbane temporarily to the top of the table and end Sydney’s faint final hopes.

While the attacking end of the park is working well for Brisbane currently, at the other end things are a little less so with 16 goals conceded in the past six games. There’s been a bit of chopping and changing to the backline in that time, but individual mistakes have continued to happen and it’s something the back four will need to eradicate before the finals begin.

Newcastle were officially eliminated from the finals race last week with Victory’s win over West Sydney, and 24 hours later they lost at home 2-1 to an inform Perth Glory side. They were however highly competitive in the game and they should prove to be equally competitive this week.

Both meetings this season have ended in draws, firstly win a 1-1 draw in Newcastle in round 8 before a 2-2 deadlock here in Brisbane back in round 19.

The first meeting between the two sides was an even contest which saw Maclaren give Brisbane the lead early in the second half before the Jets equalised late on after the Roar failed to clear from the corner.

In the second game, Brisbane took the lead early on from the penalty spot –again through Maclaren- before the Jets scored twice in 5 minutes, the second of which was a brain explosion from Brown to concede a penalty. Brisbane then pushed in the second half, but after Jade North’s equaliser they were unable to pick up the three points.

Brisbane Roar squad 1) Michael Theo, 3) Shane Stefanutto, 5) Corey Brown, 7) Corona, 8) Steven Lustica, 9) Jamie Maclaren, 10) Henrique, 13) Jade North, 14) Daniel Bowles, 15) James Donachie, 17) Matt McKay, 18) Javier Hervas, 19) Jack Hingert, 21) Jamie Young, 22) Thomas Broich, 23) Dimitri Petratos, 24) Tommy Oar 28) Brandon Borrello.
*two to be omitted.

Newcastle Jets squad 1) Mark Birighitti, 2) Daniel Mullen, 3) Jason Hoffman, 4) Nigel Boogaard, 5) Ben Kantarovski, 6) Cameron Watson, 7) Enver Alivodic, 8) Mateo Poljak, 10) Leonardo, 12) Andy Brennan, 14) Mitch Cooper, 16) Steven Ugarkovic, 19) Morten Nordstrand, 20) Ben Kennedy, 22) Lachlan Jackson, 24) Nick Cowburn, 28) Ryan Kitto.
*One to be omitted.

Expected line-ups
Brisbane XI- Young, Hingert, North, Bowles, Brown, Petratos, Corona, McKay, Borrello, Broich, Maclaren.
Substitutes- Theo, Donachie, Lustica, Oar, Henrique.
Omitted- Stefanutto, Hervas.

Brisbane will likely make two changes to the side who beat Sydney FC last week, with both Jack Hingert and Matt McKay set for a return after suspension and Socceroos duty respectively. Steven Lustica will be the man to make way for McKay, but who makes way for Hingert is less clear.

James Donachie was added to the squad last week in place of Hingert, but after a solid showing at the back it would perhaps be harsh to drop him again. Regardless, one of Donachie, Daniel Bowles, Corey Brown or Shane Stefanutto are set to miss out. For the sake of this I’ve listed Stefanutto as the unlucky man to miss out, but it could be any of them as Aloisi has kept his cards close to his chest this week.

Newcastle XI- Birighitti, Hoffman, Mullen, Boogaard, Cowburn, Kantarovski, Poljak, Leonardo, Alivodic, Nordstrand, Kitto.
Substitutes- Kennedy, Jackson, Ugarkovic, Cooper, Brennan.
Omitted- Watson.

Newcastle welcomes back winger Enver Alivodic and defender Daniel Mullen to their side this week, although Milos Trifunovic –who was originally named in the squad on Thursday-, has been released to pursue other opportunities. The Serbians departure creates a chance for youngsters Ryan Kitto and Andy Brennan to get some experience upfront, with the likes of Leonardo, Alivodic, Cooper and Nordstrand in support.

Recent form
Brisbane- WLWWL
Newcastle- LDLLW

Top Scorer
Brisbane- Jamie Maclaren (18)
Newcastle- Milos Trifunovic (9)

All-Time Record against Newcastle Jets





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