The Newcastle Jets have today parted ways with head coach Ernie Merrick, effective immediately.
Having joined the club in 2017, Merrick reached the grand final with the Jets in his first season but has failed to replicate that success in recent seasons.
W-League coach Craig Deans and current assistant Qiang Li will serve as interim coaches.
Newcastle Jets CEO, Lawrie McKinna, lauded Merrick’s early success with the club, but conceded it was time for change.
“During Ernie’s tenure, the Club reached its first Grand Final in more than ten years and we’re grateful for his contribution during his two and a half years in Newcastle,” McKinna said.
“However, results and performances haven’t been good enough this season and a change was needed.
“On behalf of everyone at the Club, I wish Ernie all the best in his future endeavours,” he said.
After resigning as Wellington Phoenix coach in December 2016, Merrick joined Newcastle in May of 2017 to replace the sacked Mark Jones. In one of the more stunning turnarounds in A-League history, the Jets rebounded from a horror five-win, last-place campaign to finish second on the ladder with 15 wins.
While Newcastle were able to come from behind to defeat Melbourne City 2-1 in the semi-finals, they suffered a controversial 1-0 defeat to Melbourne Victory in the final after a clearly offside goal was allowed to stand due to the VAR system failing.
Despite hopes they’d go one better, the 2018-19 season was one to forget. Just three wins from their first 14 matches put them too far out of the finals race and, while they finished strongly with seven wins and two draws afterwards, they finished seventh.
This season has gone from bad to worse, with the club currently anchored to the bottom of the ladder. The last five weeks have been particularly horrid, with the Jets picking up four losses and a draw and the last three of those losses all being by four goals.