Preview: Melbourne Victory v Newcastle Jets

Melbourne marks its first home game this season with a clash against its bogey team, the Newcastle Jets.

Date: Friday August 29
Kick-off: 8:00pm AEST
Venue: Telstra Dome
TV and Radio: Live & exclusive broadcast on Fox Sports 1 and delayed coverage on Sky Sports 3.

Nine A-League meetings: Melbourne – 2 wins, Newcastle – 5 wins, Draws – 2

Previous meeting
Melbourne Victory 1, Newcastle Jets 3, Telstra Dome, Round 17, December 2008

Results so far
Round 1: Sydney FC 0, Melbourne Victory 0, SFS
Round 2: Wellington Phoenix 2, Melbourne Victory 4, Westpac Stadium

Round 1: Newcastle Jets 1, Central Coast Mariners 1, EnergyAustralia Stadium
Round 2: Perth Glory 3, Newcastle Jets 3, Members Equity Stadium

Melbourne marks its first home game this season with a clash against its bogey team, the Newcastle Jets, a battle between the two previous Hyundai A-League champions. It’s hard to pinpoint why the Jets have had such a strong record over Victory under Gary van Egmond but the stats say that ‘Dutchy’ has never lost a Hyundai A-League game against Melbourne. Even in Melbourne’s dominant season of 2006-07, the Jets managed to beat it twice.

However, Melbourne’s 1-0 victory in the Pre-Season Cup match in Port Macquarie may have turned that around. While the score was 1-0, Victory dominated that match and coach Ernie Merrick is confident that he has the players at his disposal to get the result.

Their respective form in this season would indicate Melbourne has an excellent chance in this match. The Victory were dominant with a 4-2 win against Wellington last week, with Danny Allsopp leading the way with two goals. Allsopp’s early season form has been just the tonic for Melbourne, which has been without Archie Thompson so far this season.

Thompson returns to the bench for this game, while the other change sees Michael Theoklitos come back after an ankle injury, replacing Mitch Langerak between the sticks. Nick Ward remains sidelined with injury, as does Daniel Vasilevski while Nathan Elasi and Seb Ryall are on international duty.

The Jets’ season hasn’t exactly started in a blaze of glory but two draws in as many matches is a solid return. They have equalised in injury time of each of those matches, with Jade North doing the job in the 95th minute against Perth last week. Joel Griffiths has two goals from as many matches.

Jesper Hakansson is set to make his A-League debut in this match after getting over a calf injury while Jason Hoffman comes in for Kaz Patafta.

Melbourne Victory Squad: 1. Michael THEOKLITOS (gk), 2.Kevin MUSCAT (Captain), 3.Michael THWAITE, 4.Steven PACE, 7.Matthew KEMP, 8. Grant BREBNER, 9.Danny ALLSOPP, 10. Archie THOMPSON, 11.NEY FABIANO, 12.Rodrigo VARGAS, 14.Billy CELESKI, 15.Tom PONDELJAK, 16.Carlos HERNANDEZ, 17.Jose Luis LOPEZ, 18.Leigh BROXHAM, 19.Evan BERGER, 20.Mitchell LANGERAK (gk).
*Two to be omitted.

Out. Tommi TOMICH (omitted).

Unavailable. Daniel VASILEVSKI (hip – 1 week), Nick WARD (calf – 1 week), Nathan ELASI (National U/20 duties), Sebastian RYALL (National U/20 duties).

Newcastle Jets Squad 1. Ante COVIC, 2. Adam GRIFFITHS, 3. Jade NORTH, 5. James HOLLAND, 6. Jesper HAKANSSON, 8. Matt THOMPSON, 9. Joel GRIFFITHS, 10. Jin-Hyung SONG, 11. Tarek ELRICH, 12. Jobe WHEELHOUSE, 13. Adam D-APUZZO, 15. Jason HOFFMAN, 16. Ben KANTAROVSKI, 18. Noel SPENCER, 20. Ben KENNEDY, 23. Edmundo ZURA.
*one to be omitted.

In. 15 Jason Hoffman (returns from Qantas Young Socceroos duties), 6. Jesper Hakansson (returns from injury).

Out. 7. Kaz Patafta (not selected).

Unavailable. 14 Shaun Ontong (ankle – indefinite).