Roar striker Besart Berisha is looking to add to his eight goals so far this season. Image courtesy of couriermail.com.au
Newcastle is the only side to beat Brisbane twice this season and many football experts believe the Jets are Roar’s bogey team. Recent stats certainly indicate that, as the competition-leader hasn’t beaten the Novacastrians in their past four meetings. This campaign, Newcastle has toppled Brisbane 2-1 at home and 2-0 at Suncorp Stadium. The only other franchises to enjoy success against the table-toppers are Victory and Adelaide United.
The Jets' biggest problem is that the upset over Roar in Brisbane on December 20 was their last win. In seven outings since, Newcastle is winless, picking-up just two points out of a possible 21 thanks to a 2-2 draw with Western Sydney and a 1-1 result against Victory. As a result, the Jets are now second last and three points out of the top-six.
In the same seven-week period, Roar have dropped just one game, notching four wins and two draws, to be seven points clear of their nearest rival and looking good for the Premiers’ Plate. Of late, Mike’s Mulvey’s men have dispatched Central Coast and Wellington 2-1 and Victory 3-0 . Barring Matt McKay, who is probably a week away after battling a painful foot injury, Brisbane is close to full-strength. Of the regulars, only Liam Miller is missing because of suspension. Youngsters Jack Hingert and Corey Brown have been added to the squad.
Newcastle welcomes marquee man, Emile Heskey, back from injury and Socceroo David Carney is likely to make his club debut. Exciting youngster Andrew Hoole misses out through suspension, while James Virgili and Connor Chapman have been included. The visitors head north knowing they have a decent overall record against Roar – 10 wins, 7 draws and nine losses from 26 starts.
With three goals from his last four appearances, Brisbane’s departing striker, Besart Berisha, might have the last say. The Albanian found the net in last week’s draw against the Wanderers, scored the winner in the 2-1 success over the Mariners in round 17 and also potted one in the shock loss to Adelaide in round 14. The Victory-bound front-man has eight goals this season, the same as Newcastle young-gun Adam Taggart, who scored a double in the round six upset over Brisbane.
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