Newcastle Jets will host fifth placed Melbourne Victory on Saturday night in another game with big playoff implications. A result of any kind for the away team would secure them fifth place at least, whilst a win for Newcastle may allow them to leapfrog Sydney and move in to the final playoff position.
The Jets have had a largely torrid season plagued by inconsistency. That inconsistency has been displayed in recent months as they’ve won four and lost four of their last eights.
In a league as tight as the Hyundai A-League, however, those four wins have been enough to allow them a final big push for the playoffs.
Newcastle have won their last two home games with conceding a goal, keeping Melbourne Heart at bay for a 1-0 victory, and smashing Wellington Phoenix 5-0.
Those are two kind home fixtures, but they can take confidence from their superb away ways over first placed Brisbane Roar and Western Sydney Wanderer, but they’ll need to pick themselves up after last week.
The Jets could already be in the driving seat for the playoffs had they not fell apart in Perth. Leading 1-0 late on, the Jets conceded two goals in the final five minutes to lose 1-2.
The Victory drew 1-1 at home to Sydney but were probably caught looking ahead to their ACL game. With a trip to Yokohama on Wednesday result in a 3-2 loss, the Victory could be caught feeling a little leggy here.
They did however manage to rest Rogic, Milligan, Traore and Ansell in midweek, so they may not be as tired as Newcastle would have hoped. Guilherme Finkler was ineligible for the AFC tie and is likely to return to the XI here.
Newcastle will have to cope without the services of midfield maestro Zenon Caravella, so Kantarovski and Zadkovich will have to shoulder the burden of holding down the midfield and distributing the ball.
Rogic has been in poor form in recent weeks and his attitude has come in to question, so the Jets will probably be hoping he starts. Melbourne have spent all season chasing the teams above them, but now they’re just being forced to look over their shoulder at the wrong time of the season.
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