In a Finals Series six-pointer, can Perth cover the loss of suspended star keeper Liam Reddy, or will the Andrew Nabbout-inspired Jets again surprise Glory again at nib?
Saturday, 4 February 2017
Perth Glory v Newcastle Jets
nib Stadium, Perth
Kick-Off: 7:00PM (Local) (10:00PM (AEDT))
Referee: Jonathan Barreiro
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on Fox Sports 505 from 10.00pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 1 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: ABC Radio Perth, 1233 ABC Newcastle, ABC Radio WA, Grandstand Digital, Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #PERvNEW
Last time the Jets played in Perth, they made club history.
Mark Jones' men snapped an 11-year win-less hoodoo with an impressive comeback win that exposed some Glory deficiencies while showing the Jets’ ticker and quality in 2016/17.
And by and large, Newcastle have maintained their form since, supercharged by the on-fire Andrew Nabbout, their go-to man upfront.
They'll be without suspended midfielder Steven Ugarkovic for this one (a blow given his eye-catching season) but the Jets are a genuine contender as Perth nervously look over their shoulder in fifth (at the start of this round), one point ahead of Newcastle in six - making this a six-pointer for the six.
Newcastle could leapfrog Kenny Lowe’s men with another win in the West, while Glory could ramp up pressure on City in fourth if they bank all points at nib.
For the hosts, Liam Reddy has been one of the best performers this season. But the keeper's red card last week means he watches on from the stands.
It's a big blow.
Nick Feely or Jordan Thurtell are set to show what they can do in goals – so expect the visitors to test out whoever Glory select.
Perth, frustratingly for their fan base, are proving inconsistent.
They were brushed aside in Gosford last week by a spirited Mariners, and yet are capable of performances like the 2-3 win at AAMI against City earlier in the season.
You don't know what you're going to get with Lowe's men. If they ever play to their full potential week in week out, they'll be a huge threat, but defensive lapses and poor discipline (47 yellows, three reds) have dragged them down.
However, when they're all on song, they make sweet music with Keogh and Castro the conductors up front along with in-form strikers in Taggart (the ex-Jet) and Harold providing goals and pace.
Expect a big home crowd to back the purple shirts, though. To commemorate the Play Football round, registered WA footballers (from 2016) will have two free GA tickets to this double header (a Westfield W-League semi-final is also being played before the Hyundai A-League).
And Glory will need all the help they can get. After that win in December in the WA capital and last week's three points over City in Coffs Harbour, this is a Jets side buzzing and full of belief.
ROUTE TO GOAL
We’re set for a showdown between two fabulous front fours: Castro, Taggart, Harold and Keogh versus Nabbout, Hoole, Nordstrand and Clut.
Add Glory’s sublime playmaker Nebo Marinkovic with his set-piece quality - the Jets will be wary of giving away fouls on the edge of the box – and you have a game with goals written all over it.
The Jets have shown they are a decent counter-attack side. They execute with pace and have, by and large, clinical finishers.
It's proven to be a successful ploy and with Nigel Boogaard in career-best form leading the defensive line with Wayne Brown (a welcome return from injury) and Mateo Poljak hard-working midfielders with an eye for goal, Newcastle are able to absorb then swiftly transition to hurt teams.
Glory skipper Rostyn Griffiths will be vital in keeping the back door shut for Glory. He leads his team's pass stats by over 100 (and has an 82% pass accuracy), but more importantly his reading of the game and defensive power (64% of tackles he wins) are key in shielding the back four from counters.
Kenny Lowe will be instructing him to curtail Griffiths' attacking instincts for this one.
If Boogaard and Co. can contain the Glory front four - no easy task - then they'll fancy their chances against a Glory defence missing Reddy and one that has shipped 33 goals - the second worse in the league behind Mariners on 34.
WHO'S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Perth Glory. They announced a game against Chelsea at the city's new venue in mid-2018.
FORM LINES (last five games)
Perth Glory: DWDWL
Newcastle Jets: LWDLW
Perth Glory 2-2 Newcastle Jets
Perth Glory squad: 3.Marc WARREN, 4.Shane LOWRY, 5.Rhys WILLIAMS, 6.Dino DJULBIC, 7.Joel CHIANESE, 8.Rostyn GRIFFITHS (c), 9.Andy KEOGH, 10.Nebojsa MARINKOVIC, 13.Nick FEELY (gk), 14.Chris HAROLD, 15.Brandon WILSON, 16.Joe MILLS, 17.Diego CASTRO, 19.Josh RISDON, 20.Aryn WILLIAMS, 22.Adam TAGGART, 24.Milan SMILJANIC, 30.Jordan THURTELL (gk)
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 5.Rhys WILLIAMS (promoted), 8.Rostyn GRIFFITHS (returns from suspension), 30.Jordan THURTELL (gk) (promoted)
Out: 1.Liam Reddy (suspended – 1 week)
Unavailable: 2.Alex GRANT (foot – 2 weeks) 18.Mitch OXBORROW (foot – 2 weeks)
Newcastle Jets s quad: 2.Daniel MULLEN, 3.Jason HOFFMAN, 4.Nigel BOOGAARD (c), 7.Andrew HOOLE, 8.Mateo POLJAK, 10.Wayne BROWN, 12.Harrison SAWYER, 15.Andrew NABBOUT, 16.Nicholas COWBURN, 18.MA Leilei, 19.Morten NORDSTRAND, 20.Jack DUNCAN (gk), 22.Lachlan JACKSON, 23.Devante CLUT, 28.John KOUTROUMBIS, 29.Joel ALLWRIGHT, 50.Tomislav ARCABA (gk)
**one to be omitted**
Ins: 10.Wayne BROWN (returns from injury), 29.Joel ALLWRIGHT (promoted)
Outs: 6.Steven UGARKOVIC (suspended – 1 match)
Unavailable: 1.Ben KENNEDY (gk) (Achilles – season), 5.Ben KANTAROVSKI (knee – 1 week), 13.Ivan VUJICA (hamstring – 1 week), 21.Daniel ALESSI (knee – season)