Newcastle coach Gary van Egmond has promised sweeping changes to his team after describing Sunday’s 3-0 A-League loss at home to Wellington as their worst performance of the season.
Jeremy Brockie, the Jets’ top scorer last season, secured the win for Wellington at Hunter Stadium, bagging a brace against his former team before Paul Ifill rounded out the victory with a penalty in the dying minutes.
It was Wellington’s sixth straight win over Newcastle and lifted them off the bottom of the ladder.
The Jets, who remain in the top three despite the loss, have not managed to beat the Phoenix in almost two years with a 1-0 win in November, 2010 their most recent victory in the fixture.
But with the Phoenix coming off three straight losses, van Egmond admitted he was blindsided by the performance.
“No (I didn’t see that coming). Not like that,” he said.
“I still haven’t been rapt with our performance.
“They didn’t play with courage, they played with fear.
“Our positioning in the midfield, our defence, all the different moments in transitions from when we have the ball to when we lose it. It’s not the best, shall we say.
“We’ve been going through this with some of the players who’ve been here last year, for a good 15-16 months, so if they’re not going to get it then we just have to change.”
The coach said he would “100 per cent” be making changes for the Jets’ next game, away to Melbourne Heart on Saturday.
“I think the philosophy has always been the same … I’m just not happy with the way it’s being implemented so we need to change,” he said.
Former England international Emile Heskey had a few chances for the Jets but couldn’t capitalise.
Brockie, who van Egmond admitted was too expensive to keep at the Jets, ran riot on his old stomping ground with a goal just before the break and another about 10 minutes from time.
Ifill put the final nail in the coffin in the 87th minute when Wellington were awarded a penalty after Josh Mitchell brought Benjamin Totori down in the box, with the Barbados international making no mistake from the spot.
“Jeepers, predict the results in this league and you’re a genius,” Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert said.
“But the best side won tonight.”
Jets ‘keeper Mark Birighitti, who ended up the casualty of an horrific collision when Brockie’s knee connected with the gloveman’s face, was sent straight to hospital with a fractured cheekbone which could sideline him for up to eight weeks.
The Jets, who have Matthew Nash on an injury waiver after they also lost their first ‘keeper Ben Kennedy to a knee injury last month, may be forced to find a new gloveman.