Some weeks back I chatted with a ‘colourful’ racing identity in Melbourne in regards to the pending retirement of the Melbourne Storm’s Cameron Smith.
The A-League was entertaining up until its postponement.
It’s due to start again on July 16. This is how the Newcastle Jets season was assessed as it stands prior to the restart.
What’s the story?
Ernie Merrick’s record as coach of the Newcastle Jets for the A-League 2019-20 season was two wins, three draws and six losses. The last game that he coached at the Newcastle Jets they were smashed 4-nil by Melbourne Victory.
The Newcastle Jets appeared to be one dimensional with a heavy reliance on Dimitri Petratos.
Craig Deans took over as interim coach and did a reasonable job. Deans helped the Newcastle Jets players regain their confidence. He played a good style of football despite the fact they won one game, drew one game and lost three games with him at the helm.
From the moment Carl Robinson had his first press conference when he was officially announced as coach it was clear that Lawrie McKinna had made the right decision. Robinson was upbeat and confident he could turn the Newcastle Jets around, despite the fact that they were languishing near the bottom of the A-League ladder.
The Newcastle Jets won three games, drew two and lost one with Robinson at the helm, as it stands, prior to the A-League postponement. The game they lost was an extremely unlucky result as Roy O’Donovan hit the post late on against the Brisbane Roar, which would have meant the final result would have been a draw.
The fact that Robinson brought on Glenn Moss off the substitutes bench for the final few minutes of the Newcastle Jets game against Melbourne City so Moss could play his 250th game, which was a milestone, says a lot about the quality of character that Robinson is.
Unfortunately, Wes Hoolahan won’t be returning for the Newcastle Jets for the remainder of the A-League 2019-20 season.
The five most talented players
5- Nigel Boogaard return to play came at a crucial time. Boogaard has been a revelation under recently appointed Newcastle Jets coach, Carl Robinson. He played a key role in the centre of defence, making them a tough team to break down.
4- Roy O’Donovan scored nine goals and provided one assist in the A-League 2019-20 season. From memory four of the nine were scored for the Brisbane Roar. O’Donovan was let go by the Brisbane Roar, despite the fact that he was their top goal scorer at that point in time. His signing at the Newcastle Jets was the catalyst for their resurgence.
3- Steven Ugarkovic scored some critical goals that helped the Newcastle Jets sit just three points outside of the top 6.
2- Dimitri Petratos is statistically the best player in the final third contributing five goals and providing eight assists.
1- Angus Thurgate is a player that has plenty of ability. Thurgate is a versatile player that not only can play in the middle goal, but contribute goals, scoring two and providing one assist.
Honourable mention – Connor O’Toole may have only played one game, but it’s clear that the Newcastle Jets had made a good signing as O’Toole appears to have plenty of talent. His display in the Newcastle Jets winning 2-1 against Melbourne City was impressive, despite being a small sample size.
Dimitri Petratos can play in the middle of the park, on the wing or up front. Angus Thurgate and Steven Ugarkovic both have the capability of playing defensive midfield or attacking midfield and contribute in the final third.
Matthew Millar can play right back or right wing, while Bobby Burns and Connor O’Toole can play left back or left wing. Johnny Koutrombis can play in the centre of defence or in central midfield.
Who needs to lift?
No one as it stands. Whatever Carl Robinson has implemented seems to be working extremely well.
What has to change?
The Newcastle Jets just need to keep on doing what they were doing following the appointment of Robinson.