A massive Australia Day weekend of football comes to an end across the ditch when the Wellington Phoenix host Newcastle Jets at 2.30pm AEDT this afternoon in what is looming as a must-win for Ricki Herbert’s men.
Barring a victory by 11 goals or more, Wellington will still be propping up the table regardless of the result.
However a win for the Jets would see them pull four points clear of the playoff chasers, a particularly handy lead to have considering they host Sydney FC next week, who are a point behind the Novocastrians.
I think it’s safe to say that the top four can all confidently punch their tickets to the finals, and that the remaining six are all still in the hunt for those final two spots. So with that in mind, any contest between two of the league’s stragglers is laden with intrigue at this time in the year.
The old saying is ‘things can only get better’, but that’s never been more true than with the Yellow Fever this week after they were completely and utterly blown off the pitch by Sydney last week – a 7-1 thumping which saw the mercurial Alessandro Del Piero grab a stunning quadruple.
The Jets head into this one on the back of a less than memorable bore draw with arch-rivals Central Coast in the F3 Derby.
But as underwhelming as that game may have been, the visitors have now not conceded in their last three starts, including a win over the defending premiers.
It seems likely that there will be goals in this one, because as miserly as Newcastle may have been in recent times, their hosts haven’t played out a scoreless draw all season.
In fact, only two games have yielded less than two total goals for Wellington, including a stunning 3-0 at Hunter Stadium in the first meeting between the two clubs.
So there’s a lot on the line for both of these teams, and now is the time to start racking up some points to give your finals push a shot in the arm. Should be an exciting contest.
Join us just before 2.30pm AEDT for all the line-ups, formations and team news.
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