Preview: Newcastle v Melbourne Heart

Friday August 13, 7:30pm AEST

Date: Friday August 13
Kick-off: 7:30pm AEST
Venue: EnergyAustralia Stadium Melbourne


These teams played a pre-season trial match a month ago in Morwell, with the Jets prevailing 2-1. Hard to know what to take from that match considering Heart were missing half of their starting line-up.

Season so far
Newcastle Jets:
Round 1: Adelaide United 0, Newcastle Jets 0, Hindmarsh Stadium

Melbourne Heart:
Round 1: Melbourne Heart 0, Central Coast 1, AAMI Park

Pre-season form:
Newcastle Jets:
July 28: Rockdale City Suns 0, Newcastle Jets 4, Bicentennial Park
July 25: Newcastle Jets 0, Brisbane Roar 1, Port Macquarie Regional Stadium, Port Macquarie
July 18: Sydney United 0 Newcastle Jets 2, Edensor Park
July 14: NBN State League XI 1, Newcastle Jets 3, Darling Street Oval
July 8: Melbourne Heart 1 Newcastle Jets 2, La Trobe City Stadium, Morwell

Melbourne Heart:
July 22: Loddon Mallee Lightning 1 Melbourne Heart 9, Bendigo
July 14: Everton 2, Melbourne Heart 0, Etihad Stadium
July 8: Melbourne Heart 1, Newcastle Jets 2, Morwell
July 2: Oakleigh Cannons 2 Melbourne Heart 5, Oakleigh
June 25: Brisbane Roar 2, Melbourne Heart 0, Toowoomba
July 17: Wimmera South Coast Eagles 1 Melbourne Heart 3, Geelong

Match Committee
The Jets have lost Sean Rooney for up to six weeks with a calf injury, while Chinese import Zhang Shou is still awaiting his clearance and Tarek Elrich remains sidelined with an ankle complaint. Defender Nikolai Topor-Stanley, the logical choice to play on Gerald Sibon, is in doubt with a knee injury and should he not come up, Ben Kantarovski could be given that job with Jobe Wheelhouse brought into the midfield. Either Labinot Haliti or Sasho Petrovski will play up front.

Melbourne Heart has close to a full squad to pick from and while neither Josip Skoko or Simon Colosimo are fully fit as yet, coach John van ‘t Schip has said both will play and hopefully get through 90 minutes. Wayne Srhoj has been named in the squad, but is unlikely to start with the coach indicating that he will take a similar XI into the match as he did against Central Coast, as much for continuity as for form. John Aloisi remains sidelined while youngsters Kamal Ibrahim and Ante Tomic have been left out. Jason Hoffman and Kliment Taseski have been included in the extended squad.

Danger men
Michael Bridges – The signs are there that the English veteran will have a major influence on the Jets this year with coach Branko Culina happy to let him decide what is the best position to play at any given time. It means he will alternate between midfield and up front and provide whoever gets to mark him with plenty to consider. So much does john van ‘t Schip think of him , he compared him to Dennis Bergkamp during the week.

Josip Skoko – A less than ideal preparation meant Skoko’s Hyundai A-League debut was not what he would have hoped. Heavily marked by Matt Simon, Skoko was unable to unleash his influence on the game and that showed as Heart struggled going forward. He is a key player in the structure of the team and the Jets will be wise to adapt similar tactics to those employed by the Mariners.

Where the game will be won
While both these sides have attacking game plans, neither of them was able to score last week. There was a distinct amount of rust in both line-ups and they will both be improved by their first-up performances. The Jets did well to get a point from Adelaide, never an easy place to travel to, and their history tells you they are a better side at home. Last year they won seven and lost six at EAS, including wins over finalists Gold Coast, Wellington Phoenix and Melbourne Victory.

For Heart, who looked every bit the side which needed more time together, this first ever road trip could prove a crucial point of their development. Key to their prospects will be the ability to get the ball moving in dangerous areas, which simply didn’t happen last week. If the Jets can clog up the middle of the park and get on top, then the result should go their way, but if Heart can make consistent inroads, it could be an upset win for the new boys.


Newcastle Jets squad: 1. Ben KENNEDY (gk), 3. Adam D-APUZZO, 4. Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY, 5. Ljubo MILICEVIC 6. Ben KANTAROVSKI 7. Kasey WEHRMAN 8. Michael BRIDGES, 10. Ruben ZADKOVICH, 11. Tarek ELRICH, 12. Jobe WHEELHOUSE, 13. Sash PETROVSKI, 14. Labinot HALITI, 16. Jeremy BROCKIE, 17. Marcello FIORENTINI, 18. Marko JESIC, 19. Ali ABASS, 30. Paul HENDERSON
*two to be omitted*

In: Nil
Out: 21.Brodie MOOY (not selected), 22. Kaz PATAFTA (not selected), 2. Taylor REGAN (not selected)
Unavailable: 9. Zhang SHOU, 20. Neil YOUNG (illness – indefinite), 15. Sean ROONEY (calf – 4/6 weeks)

Melbourne Heart FC squad: 1. Clint BOLTON (gk), 2. Michael MARRONE, 3. Brendan HAMILL, 4. Simon COLOSIMO (c), 5. Michael BEAUCHAMP, 6. Matthew THOMPSON, 7. Rutger WORM, 9. Gerald SIBON, 10. Wayne SRHOJ, 11. ALEX TERRA, 12. Peter ZOIS (gk) 17. Jason HOFFMAN, 19. Eli BABALJ, 20. Josip SKOKO, 21. Kliment TASESKI, 22. Nick KALMAR, 23. Dean HEFFERNAN, 24. Aziz BEHICH
*three to be omitted*

In: 10. Wayne SRHOJ, 17. Jason HOFFMAN (promoted), 21. Kliment TASESKI (promoted)
Out: Nil
Unavailable: 15.John ALOISI (Hamstring – 3 weeks), 8.Kristian SARKIES (Leg – Indefinite), 14.Kamal IBRAHIM (not selected), 18.Ante TOMIC (not selected)