Updated: Jun 10, 2021
The final regular-season fixture is upon us, with our City boys finally taking on the cellar-dwelling Newcastle Jets in what looms as a must-win matchup for the Jets if they are to avoid their fourth wooden spoon in little over a decade.
Unfortunately, due to Melbourne’s lockdown, this will be another home game that we miss out on. The match has been moved to Kogarah, being played at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, so get down there if you happen to be in Sydney!
Newcastle Jets will be looking for a positive finish to a woeful season which involved a winless run of 14 matches by getting the win at Kogarah on Thursday evening. They have already gained four points from their past two matches, and do not look like slowing down – not when avoiding a wooden spoon is on the line. Just to make matters worse, the Jets have played their best football on the road this season, racking up twice as many points away from McDonald Jones Stadium.
On the other hand, City will be hungry to play themselves into form, after only taking 1 point from the last 6 available after what can only be described as our most dominant season – obviously depicted by the shiny new Premier’s Plate in our trophy cabinet. After an upsetting end to the least important derby in history, coach Patrick Kisnorbo sees this Jets game an opportunity to “improve some things that we need to improve on”, quite clearly thinking of what lies ahead in the upcoming A-League Finals Series.
With Andrew Nabbout, Nathaniel Atkinson and Stefan Colakovski back in the mix after injury and soreness, here are three main talking points in our final league game of the season:
Do we even want to win?
Being an easy avenue for the meme-makers of Twitter, City fans across social media platforms have been pleading for a “forfeit” or to “play the NPL side”, as a loss will undoubtedly hand Melbourne Victory a maiden wooden spoon.
Personally, I feel like we had our chance on Sunday to give them the spoon. Against the Jets, this is a perfect matchup for us to get back on the winners list and prove to the rest of the finalists that we will not roll over – we’re going for gold.
Despite the joy it would bring our fanbase to bring a wooden spoon tifo to the next derby, it would be even better to begin our catch up with Victory’s championship tally. That is the ultimate goal.
Inconsistent results against our upcoming opposition
Like Newcastle’s table position in recent years, our last five matches against the Jets have had their ups and downs, with three wins and two losses. One of those losses directly lead into what turned out to be our title-winning run of 13 wins in 17 matches.
Having already beaten us once this year, Newcastle can be a difficult opponent at times, and our boys will have to be on their game if we are to break the 50-point tally – which we have never reached in our history. Although, a draw would mean we hit that 50-point mark and spoon the Victory… interesting.
Play the Kids, Paddy!
One of our greatest positives this season was the commitment to our youth development system. Proving to be one of the most important facets of our game, with two academy graduates in Connor Metcalfe and Denis Genreau becoming fully-fledged Socceroos on Tuesday morning, the youngsters have shown our depth in each position – our future is in good hands.
In the derby, our kids were on fire, with Marco Tilio (19) linking up well with Raphael Borges Rodrigues (17). With the aforementioned - plus others - in the Newcastle squad, we could see some more important minutes for our youngsters tally up before the Championship fight begins.
Nevertheless, this is not an unimportant match. This may be the most important in terms of getting ready for another trophy challenge. Ensure you have your City gear ready to go to watch from home on Thursday night, it should be a belter!