Newcastle won't be backing down from a fight against Brisbane. Image courtesy of news.com.au/Getty Images
What could have been a ho-hum build-up to Saturday’s clash between Brisbane and Newcastle was ignited earlier in the week when Jets captain Jobe Wheelhouse made it clear one of his team’s tactics would be to get under the skin of Roar firebrand Besart Berisha.
Given the way coach Rado Vidosic attacked his team’s “schoolboy” defending in the 2-1 loss to Central Coast, and Erik Paartalu’s not-so-happy response, it seems as though Brisbane has plenty of tension inside its camp without needing any incitement at all from the visiting Jets.
It could well be the man down the other end of the field, Newcastle’s marquee man Emile Heskey, who could fly under the radar heading in to this game. While Berisha set the league alight last season, this campaign Heskey has quietly gone about his business scoring five goals in eight games. The Roar defence will be without skipper Matt Smith and right-back Ivan Franjic, who are on Socceroos duty, leaving Brisbane’s backline looking decidedly thin against a team which has had no trouble scoring goals away from Hunter Stadium.
So far this season on the road, the Jets have beaten Sydney FC 3-2 and Western Sydney 2-1 , drawn 3-3 with Melbourne Heart last start, while their only defeat came with a 3-2 loss to Perth. In their last appearance at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane had the scoreboard attendant working overtime in a 4-2 win over Sydney FC.
Despite those heady numbers, matches between these teams have traditionally been low scoring. There have been under 2.5 goals in six of the past eight contests. Newcastle has an excellent record in Brisbane, having won two and drawn two on its past four visits to Suncorp. The results include a 1-0 win in Brisbane at the start of 2012.
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