The Jets have been without Emile Heskey for the opening three rounds. Image courtesy of news.com.au/Getty Images
Newcastle is one of three teams yet to record a victory in the new A-League season, but the Jets are the only side yet to trouble the scorer . Counting a the game-and-a-half they went at the end of last season without finding the back of the net, it is now 406 minutes since Gary van Egmond’s team posted a score.
The Jets have been without Emile Heskey for the first three rounds after he suffered a knee injury in a nasty tackle against Melbourne Victory in a pre-season friendly. While the frontman was hardly a prolific scorer for club or country in England, he did bag nine goals in 23 appearances for the Novacastrians last season. With or without him, Newcastle needs to find a way to score, and score first; 59 times the Jets have been down at half-time in an A-League match and 59 times they have lost.
Their job doesn’t get any easier this Saturday night when they welcome Central Coast to town for the F3 Derby. The last two years, the Jets have taken out the first clash between the teams for the season at Hunter Stadium, including a 2-1 victory in October. Considering the Mariners’ success throughout the A-League, Newcastle has a very solid record in the derby with nine wins and ten draws from 29 clashes.
The Mariners only required a second-minute Nick Fitzgerald goal to take the points against Adelaide United last week but they should have sealed the deal a number of times throughout the game and only poor finishing kept the Reds in the contest. While Graham Arnold’s team was almost unstoppable at Bluetongue Stadium last campaign, they weren’t as good on the road at the back end of the season. In their last five away games the Mariners collected just five points, which in the end probably cost them the Premier’s Plate.
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