The Roar were made to fight hard for their 2-1 win over Melbourne Heart at AAMI Park on Sunday whilst the Jets bounced back onto the winners list for the first time since September 17 when they seemingly brushed aside second-placed Adelaide United on Saturday night.
Tonight’s fixture makes a very interesting case for the Jets, who just last week looked like they could do nothing right, but what a difference a week makes in football.
Francis Jeffers’ debut was impressive as Branko Culina’s men completely outclassed the Reds as they finally looked dangerous up forward with the former Everton and Arsenal man combining well with Marko Jesic and Ali Abbas.
The back third, led by Ljubo Milicevic and Nikolai Topor-Stanley, looks settled whilst the midfield of Kasey Wehrman and Ruben Zadkovich looks hard to break down.
If there is one team that can do it, however, it is the Roar. Their passing game is phenomenal and they seem to have endless options in going forward.
They will miss the influence of skipper Matt McKay who is on international duty and may be a big loss but Ange Postecoglou is sure to have an apt replacement, most likely in the form of Mitch Nichols who has been brilliant as a substitute recently.
The Jets will have to contain in-form striker Kosta Barbarouses if they want to win or at least draw this one. The Kiwi has scored four goals in his past three games and continues to create as well as take chances which could be a problem for Newcastle.
But I feel the Jets have turned the corner and will fight this one out to pick up a point.
Verdict: 1-1 draw
Newcastle Jets vs. Brisbane Roar
Date: Wednesday, 17 November 2010
Venue: EnergyAustralia Stadium, Newcastle
Local kick-off: 7:30pm
Match fact: If Brisbane Roar win, it will be the first time a team has gone more than six points clear at the top of the table since Melbourne Victory in 2007/06.
Referee: Peter Green
Newcastle Jets squad: 1. Ben KENNEDY (gk), 2. Taylor REGAN, 3. Adam D’APUZZO, 4. Nikolai TOPOR STANLEY, 5. Ljubo MILICEVIC (C), 6. Ben KANTAROVSKI 7. Kasey WEHRMAN, 10. Ruben ZADKOVICH, 11. Tarek ELRICH, 13. Sasho PETROVSKI, 14. Labinot HALITI, 15. Sean ROONEY, 17. Marcello FIORENTINI, 18. Marko JESIC, 19. Ali ABASS, 22.Kaz PATAFTA 24. Francis Jeffers 40. Matthew NASH *two to be omitted*
In: Taylor REGAN (promoted), Sean ROONEY (promoted)
Unavailable: Neil YOUNG (illness – indefinite), Michael BRIDGES (Knee - six weeks), Jobe WHEELHOUSE (Hip - indefinite), Brodie MOOY (Shin Splints - indefinite), Jeremy BROCKIE (Broken foot - 6 to 8 weeks), Zhang SHUO (calf – indefinite)
Brisbane Roar squad: 1. Michael THEOKLITOS (gk), 2. Matt SMITH, 3. Luke DEVERE, 5. Ivan FRANJIC, 6. Erik PAARTALU, 7. Kosta BARBAROUSES, 8. Massimo MURDOCCA, 9. Jean Carlos SOLORZANO, 11. REINALDO, 12. Matt MUNDY, 14. Rocky VISCONTE, 17. Mitch NICHOLS, 18. Luke BRATTAN, 20. Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 22. Thomas BROICH, 23. Milan SUSAK *two to be omitted*
In: Matt MUNDY (promoted), Luke BRATTAN (promoted)
Out: Shane STEFANUTTO (Hamstring), Matt McKAY (international duty)
Unavailable: HENRIQUE (broken arm – indefinite)