Jets right in the A-League mix: Merrick


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    Newcastle Jets coach Ernie Merrick believes his side have the “ingredients” to challenge for silverware this season after an unbeaten opening six rounds in the A-League.

    The Jets’ latest triumph was a 2-1 win over Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium on Saturday which saw Newcastle temporarily take top spot with four wins and two draws.

    Merrick drew similarities between the Jets’ current opening and that of the 2006-07 Melbourne Victory side, who won their first seven matches before going on the claim the championship.

    “I do see the right ingredients,” he said.

    “When I won my first championship I think we went the first seven games not only undefeated, I think we won all seven.

    “I think you’ve got to have a good start.”

    Merrick stopped short of declaring his side among the favourites, citing squad depth as a potential obstacle should Newcastle be hit with injuries.

    With star import Ronald Vargas sidelined for an extensive period, Merrick hinted further casualties would impact the Jets’ chances of claiming silverware.

    “The difference is I don’t know if we’ve got the depth when it counts,” he said.

    “The last three or four games of the year and then finals you’ve got to have players fit and ready to go.”

    Merrick also hosed down recent speculation the club was looking at signing Nathan Burns.

    The Socceroo enjoyed a brief loan spell with the Jets in the 2013-14 campaign before winning the Johnny Warren Medal under Merrick at Wellington Phoenix in the following season.

    The Newcastle tactician did hint the club would look at reinforcements in the January transfer window should the need arise.

    “There’s talk about us signing Nathan Burns, we’re not going to sign Nathan Burns,” he said.

    “But in the January window we’ll have a look and see if a quality player becomes available.

    “I think our owner would be open to signing a player at that stage given that we’ve gone so long without Vargas.”

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (12)

    • Roar Guru

      November 13th 2017 @ 7:46am
      Griffo said | November 13th 2017 @ 7:46am | ! Report

      We certainly hope this continues.

      The next two weeks will show whether we can take it to the likes of Sydney and City.

      Two wins will be amazing and open a nice buffer at the top but a win and a draw isn’t unrealistic here.

      Merrick is right about depth. A bit of luck that we don’t have an injury run like early last season.

      A successful season will help attract players and create depth as early as January.

      • November 13th 2017 @ 12:37pm
        Kangajets said | November 13th 2017 @ 12:37pm | ! Report

        You are right about the importance of the next few matches , but I’m very optimistic that the jets will be there on grand final day this season

        • November 13th 2017 @ 12:51pm
          punter said | November 13th 2017 @ 12:51pm | ! Report

          Kangajets and Griffo, ‘You are top of the League’, ‘You are top of the league’.

          Congrats guys. Looking good.

          • November 13th 2017 @ 1:24pm
            Kangajets said | November 13th 2017 @ 1:24pm | ! Report

            Cheers Punter

            Going to enjoy being top, because it’s been a long while coming . Hoping that all four nsw teams can make the top 6 . Which will see full house crowds come finals .

      • Roar Guru

        November 13th 2017 @ 1:14pm
        Griffo said | November 13th 2017 @ 1:14pm | ! Report

        I’m a little more realistic Kanga, given what’s happened in the past when we have started well, but seeing how things are progressing now I’d be disappoint if not in the top six at this point.

        I’d agree depth is a worry but we should be able to handle one or two injuries (Champness and Katroumbis can both fill in for the starting side and do well imo).

        Punter, thanks mate. We knew we’d be back here one day, just didn’t expect to wait this long 😉

        • November 13th 2017 @ 1:29pm
          Kangajets said | November 13th 2017 @ 1:29pm | ! Report


          I’m concerned abt the lack of depth , but that’s a problem all clubs have . The conceding of early goals is a bad habit .

          On the upside tho, petratos Nabbout o Donovan have gelled magnificently

          And Kantarovski is a completely rejuvenated player under Merrick . Ugargovic and viljuca continue to impress me and Georgeedki and hopefully Vargas to come back .

          • November 13th 2017 @ 1:33pm
            punter said | November 13th 2017 @ 1:33pm | ! Report

            I read somewhere you are also looking at bringing Nathan Burns back from Japan, he has good working relationship with Ernie Merrick.

            • Roar Guru

              November 13th 2017 @ 1:48pm
              Griffo said | November 13th 2017 @ 1:48pm | ! Report

              Merrick has quashed this a couple of times now.

              Never say never but I suspect Merrick wants to do some homework and careful checking from those that crop up in January, rather than signing someone he knows who isn’t playing enough right now.

              In saying that, if there is to be some savings from the injury waver, Burns could be it if there is no transfer fee involved.

            • Roar Guru

              November 13th 2017 @ 8:52pm
              Cousin Claudio said | November 13th 2017 @ 8:52pm | ! Report

              That’s nothing Del Piero is coming back to Sydney FC and Romario back to Adelaide.

          • Roar Guru

            November 13th 2017 @ 1:46pm
            Griffo said | November 13th 2017 @ 1:46pm | ! Report

            True of all clubs, but some seem to manage better than others 😉

            Vijuca was resigned for two season so well has he been playing. Ugarkovic ability was there when – was it Miller who signed him? – he joined and has been fairly consistent.

            Nabbout, as we saw last year, wants that second chance, and now has other players to support him where he ended up carrying the can rather one dimensionally under Jones (due in some part to the quality around him).

            I wasn’t sure Kanta was going to be anything more than the shadow of the player he was (or could have been) but he’s certainly got a second wind this season. I think part of that is the confidence that his prep hasn’t been too interrupted by injuries, especially his knees. Also playing in his preferred position helps.

            O’Donavan is the striker we’ve craved since Taggart and Griffiths (of the “#9 Joel Griffiths Road” fame) and how well the players you mentioned have provided good service to the attack.

            A lot has to do with the setup I believe that has suited the players, and might be at the right time when a majority of teams are working on a defence-minded strategy.

            Georgevski has also fitted in well and quickly, so is a shame he’s injured but hoping he can be back in without further flare ups.

            It is being indicated Vargas could be back much sooner than initially thought. How soon he would be back to his early round form remains to be seen, but if he is close come the final rounds and we’re high on the table, even better.

            At this point I’m hoping Vargas resigns for another season.

      • November 13th 2017 @ 5:55pm
        Fadida said | November 13th 2017 @ 5:55pm | ! Report

        Neither City not Sydney have impressed greatly. Depth will be the determinant. We are short a back up striker, midfielder and wide player

        • Roar Guru

          November 13th 2017 @ 8:54pm
          Cousin Claudio said | November 13th 2017 @ 8:54pm | ! Report

          Sydney had a shocker against Mariners.

          Jets are going well and victories against Sydney and Melb City would certainly get the turnstiles spinning and silence a few critics, but I can’t see them winning both.

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