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Opinion

The good, the bad and the ugly for the Newcastle Jets

14th November, 2021
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14th November, 2021
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There were certainly plenty of moments during the qualifying FFA Cup fixture in the contest between Western United and the Newcastle Jets. Some good, bad and ugly – and one complete head scratcher!

I’ll deal quickly with the head scratcher. The shot from Angus Thurgate, gloved onto the upright by Jamie Young, was clearly over the goal-line. Not only were Newcastle players celebrating, even the ballboy raised his arms. Here is definitely an early opportunity for the A-League to get firm sponsorship from an optometrist with a catchy advertising phrase.

The contest as a whole was good, entertaining and often end to end. Josh Risdon was a standout for Western United and looks very much a player reborn. Newcastle’s Cameroonian import Olivier Boumal caused Risdon problems, but the Socceroo edged the match up.

Alessandro Diamanti appears to be the Peter Pan of the A League. The 38-year-old belies his years and continues to pull the strings to be a constant threat to opposition defences. Neil Kilkenny is a quality addition to John Aloisi’s squad.

He can and did at times dictate Westerns pace of play and his experience will benefit the Melbourne outfit. For the record Kilkenny assisted the opening goal and Diamanti the second.

Lachlan Wales grabbed the opening goal for Western United in the final minutes of the first half. Newcastle’s fullback Jason Hoffman and goalkeeper Jack Duncan combined to gift Wales a simple side foot into the net. Hoffman appeared to have the opportunity to knock the ball to safety. Duncan dived late and could only aide the ball into the path of a grateful Wales. Soft goal and easily in the bad category moment.

Newcastle were back in the game with a sumptuous free kick from 23 year old Brazilian loan signing Daniel Penha. Arguably the Jets best on the night, his adroit rocket shot, though touched by Young, got the Novocastrians deservedly level. One of five overseas Arthur Papas signings, Penha looks an exciting prospect.

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Jets fans have been promised an up tempo game style and the delivery of this was there to be seen. More of the same will surely be welcomed in the Hunter.

Both Valentino Yuel and Sam Silvera were introduced in the 71st minute of the game and both performed well. Yuel went close to scoring on two occasions and Silvera caused problems for Western United every time he was on the ball. Both players want to go forward and seem more than capable of getting past their opponents.

Their individual late game cameos must mean they’re pushing for a match day starting selection when the Jets line up against bitter rivals the Central Coast in their A League opener. With Newcastles squad certainly looking to contain depth it’s a welcome selection headache for the new A League coach Papas.

Papas maybe having a selection dilemma in the goalkeeping department. Jack Duncan had a nightmare evening culminating in the ugly moment. Diamanti’s long range lofted pass to the on running Serbian Aleksander Prijovic should have been easily dealt with by the Jets keeper.

Instead of focussing on the ball, he momentarily glanced at the opposition striker. His swinging leg missed the ball and Prijovic scored possibly one of the easiest goals of his career. A nice introduction to Australia for him but embarrassment for a dejected Duncan.

Ramy Najjarine of Newcastle Jets

(Photo by Speed Media/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

So does Arthur Papas roll the dice now and select one of the other two keepers in the senior squad? 20 year old Noah James only has one A League game under his belt. It was though an impressive clean sheet against Wellington Phoenix. 24 year old Michael Weier has no A League statistics but has had an impressive 5 year stint with Victorian NPL club Hume City. Does Duncan get another chance to retain his position?

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Team performances are the key to success for any team. Individual errors in the key position of goalkeeper can and do sometimes result in a loss of confidence for the individual. Surely Papas and his coaching staff will be deliberating over this selection more than any other in this weeks lead up to the F3 Derby.

A week can be a long time in football. Come game day, the Newcastle Jets will be ready for the Central Coast Mariners. A win against the Coasties and the 2-1 loss to Western United will soon be forgotten. Never Tear Us Apart continues to be the mantra for fans and club alike.

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