All posts by Jeterpool

Ernie Merrick Takes the Yoke

Today the Newcastle Jets announced the appointment of Ernie Merrick as the first team coach for the next two seasons. When he takes his place on the dugout in front of Bay 56 and 57 next season, he will become the 11th manager to fill that seat for the Jets in the A-League. Having lead Melbourne Victory to Grand Final wins and teams to the finals series on 5 separate occasions, Jets fans will entrust Merrick with the daunting task of achieving something the 6 previous incumbents failed to do over the 7 preceding seasons – return the Jets to the finals series.

“So where does Ernie start?” I hear you ask.

First of all, he needs to finalise the team’s recruitment. The club have 10 players off contract from the previous season, but with 17 players already signed for next season he has just 6 spots to fill in his roster. When considering Merrick’s teams of the past, they have been dominated, and reliant upon, a creative central player. Having found success with the likes of Fred, Carlos Hernandez and Roly Bonvevacia in his team, it could be expected this is an area Merrick will target. Last season the Jets filled that position at various times with Nordstrand, Brown, Leilei and Clut, all of whom had limited success or in the case of Leilei and Nordstrand will not be returning next year. With O’Donovan’s signing intent on bringing goals to the side, his success will be strongly linked on the ability for Merrick to harness a creative midfielder to provide him the right level of service.

Merrick will also need to bring confidence to a leaky defensive unit that set an unwelcome record by conceding 19 unanswered goals to end the season. The Jets defence over the last 3 seasons (2014/15 – 2016/17) has had more holes than a colander, conceding a total of 156 goals in 84 competitive matches and keeping just 9 clean sheets in the process. To put that in some perspective, the Jets kept 8 clean sheets in the 27 games of the 2013/14 season. The current squad currently have a number of players signed in that area, namely Boogaard, Hoffman, Jackson, Cowburn, Vujica, Koutroumbis and Alessi being joined by Joe Marston Medalist Daniel Georgievski, so Merrick must decide whether he wants to use any free spots on the back end of the pitch.

Finally, Ernie needs to get the team winning again. Well derrrr, I hear you all say – but it something easier said than done for a team who have won just 16 games in their last 84 (19%). With the speed at which the club moved in replacing Mark Jones, it will allow Merrick time to formulate a pre-season program while the squad are on annual leave. There will be no better place to start the turnaround than the Round 32 FFA Cup clash in late July or early August where he can become the first Jets coach to take the team past the first hurdle in the competition. The team are currently on the heaviest losing streak in their history and are just 36 minutes away from surpassing their all-time record of 566 minutes in the A-League without a goal.

One potential un-tapped resource for Merrick is the State League and Jets Youth setups. Having promoted a number of young players and giving them game time during his time at Victory and Phoenix, his appointment will hopefully boost the confidence of those seeking their opportunity in the A-League that a pathway exists.

There’s no doubting Merrick’s appointment, like any coaching appointment, can be seen as a gamble but the response on social media have been overall positive towards the club. Some fans will point to his previous success, while others will argue his approaches and methods are antiquated. Some will say he never delivered at Wellington, while others will say he was limited in budget, travel and player availability due to internationals. But after taking the approach of appointing 3 rookie coaches previously, the Jets have opted to seek experience in terms of both coaching and knowledge of the league. Merrick is a known quantity and likely seen as a safe option who can provide the Jets with the stability they crave to re-build the foundations of the club’s playing style and philosophy.

That then begs the question – what does success look like? While every team’s goal should rightly be to win the league/grand final, a jump to that height may be a step too far for the Jets next year. However, more realistic goals should be:

  • Progress to the quarter finals of the FFA Cup
  • Achieve a top 6 spot.
  • Deliver more than 36 points (the current record haul for any Jets season).

By achieving these targets, by the nature of winning, the goals scored and conceded “should”, in theory, take care of themselves.

The first we will see of Merrick’s team will be 2 weeks into their pre-season training when they take on Audax Italiano at Hunter Stadium. But until I hope the recruitment can be undertaken at a similar decisive speed at which the club operated in appointing Merrick which gives the long-suffering Jets fans something to cheer about come their first FFA Cup clash. Regardless, it would be great to see the crowd rousing themselves AGAIN and supporting the team in blue, red and gold.

All the best Ernie – you’ve got a massive challenge ahead.

2013/14 Round 23 Preview – Central Coast Mariners v Newcastle Jets


2013/2014 Hyundai A-League
Season 9 Round 23
Central Coast Mariners vs Newcastle United Jets FC

When: Saturday 15th March, 2014
Where: Central Coast Stadium, Dane Drive, Gosford, NSW
Kickoff: 730pm AEDST (gates open 630pm)
Tickets: Ticketek Link
Prematch: Hotel Gosford, 179 Mann St, Gosford from 3pm
Watch: LIVE on Foxsports 1 and FoxSports 1HD
Listen: ABC Central Coast 95.2FM or ABC Grandstand Digital online
Tweet: @newyboys #F3Derby #NTUA

If you are unable to travel to the game in Gosford, please come down to the District Park Tennis Club in Broadmeadow and watch the game LIVE. The Tenzo is now our permanent venue for both home AND away Newcastle Jets fixtures.

If you are travelling to the game you have two options:


Overall – 31 games between the two teams.
Jets Wins – 9, Mariners Wins – 11, Drawn – 11

Total Goals in fixture
Jets – 27, Mariners – 38

Cards in fixture –
Jets – 71 Yellow, 4 red (2 straight), Mariners – 46 Yellow, 3 red (2 straight)

In Gosford- 15 games
Jets Wins – 1, Mariners Wins – 7, Drawn – 7

Last Result –
Jets 0 – 3 Mariners (Caceres 13’, McBreen 31’, Simon 45+2’) at the Central Coast.

Biggest Win –
Jets 3 (Bridge 6’, Carle 18’, Rodriguez 79’) – Central Coast Mariners 1 (Mori 40’), Round 12, Season 2 at Energy Australia Stadium, 12/11/2006.

Heaviest Defeat –
Jets 1 (Coveney 85’) – Central Coast Mariners 4 (Gumprecht 4’, Brown 34’, Hutchinson 72’ 83’), Round 16, Season 1 at Bluetoungue Stadium, 31/12/2005.

Leading Scorers in fixture 
Jets – 5 (Joel Griffiths)
Mariners – 7 (Matt Simon)

Coaches Head to Head – 1 match.
Clayton Zane – 0 wins, Phil Moss – 1 win

Newcastle Jets Coaching Records –
Clayton Zane – 1 match (0 wins, 0 drawn, 1 loss = 0% win ratio)
Craig Deans – 1 match (1 win, 0 drawn and 0 losses = 100% win ratio)
Gary Van Egmond – 17 matches (6 wins, 6 drawn and 5 losses = 35% win ratio)
Branko Culina – 6 matches (1 win, 2 drawn and 3 losses = 17% win ratio)
Richard Money – 5 matches (1 win, 2 drawn and 2 losses = 20% win ratio)
Nick Theodorakopoulos – 1 match (0 win, 1 drawn and 0 losses = 0% win ratio)

Average Home crowd – 11578

Key facts:

  • Clayton Zane is the only Jets coach to have lost in his first F3 Derby. At the same time Phil Moss became the first Mariners coach to win an F3 Derby on his first attempt.
  • Our last, and only, victory at Blue Tongue Stadium was Round 20, Season 3. This was a 2-1 victory. Joel Griffiths and James Holland were on the scoresheet that day, Adam Kwasnik for the Mariners
  • The Jets have won twice in the last 12 meetings between the two clubs.
  • The Jets have scored only 2 goals in the last 9 matches at Blue Tongue Stadium. The Mariners have scored 15.
  • Joel Griffiths is the only current Jets player to have scored at Blue Tongue Stadium.
  • All Jets players that have been sent off in this fixture have been dismissed playing at Blue Tongue.
  • 40 of the 71 yellow cards the Jets have received have come at Blue Tongue. Also, the Jets have never gone through a game at Blue Tongue without receiving a booking.
  • The most booked players for each team are John Hutchinson and Matt Thompson. Both players have been booked 5 times in this fixture.
  • 4 of the 9 Jets victories were refereed by Matthew Breeze.
  • The Jets have only been ahead at half time twice while playing at Blue Tongue, but we have scored first 5 times in the 15 games.
  • Mark Brighitti is the only Jets player to have kept a clean sheet at Blue Tongue (Season 8, Round 17).

The Referee – TBA

2013/14 Round 22 Preview – Newcastle Jets v Melbourne Heart


2013/2014 Hyundai A-League
Season 9 Round 22

Newcastle United Jets FC vs Melbourne Heart FC

The Squadron FSC encourages all supporters to wear pink and donate here or buy a $25 pink shirt produced by the Newcastle Jets in support of the Hunter Breast Cancer Foundation on gameday.

When: Saturday 8th March, 2014
Where: Hunter Stadium, 294 Turton Road, New Lambton, NSW
Kickoff: 530pm AEDST (gates open 430pm)
Pre-match: from 2pm District Park Tennis Club, Cnr Lambton and Curley Rds Broadmeadow

Watch: LIVE on Foxsports 1 and FoxSports 1HD
Listen: ABC Newcastle 1233 or ABC Grandstand online
Tweet: @newyboys #NTUA #NEWvMHT #PinkDayforBK                                                                             

Supporters are reminded that active support has relocated to Bay 60 for the remainder of the season. All existing Bay 2 members should have already been sent their new membership cards. If you have not received this please contact the club on 4979 7611 . Anyone with a membership in another bay who wishes to join Bay 60 for this game also needs to contact the club to organise a temporary ticket for this game. Any other supporters simply need to purchase a ticket for Bay 60 via the above link.


Overall – 11 games between the two teams
Jets Wins – 5, Heart Wins – 4, Draws – 2

In Newcastle – 6 games
Jets Wins – 4, Heart Wins – 1, Draws – 1

Last Result
Jets 1 (Regan 37) – 3 Heart (Ramsay 44, Dugandzic 45, 68) in Melbourne, Round 15.

Biggest Win –
Jets 3 (Brockie 23, R Griffiths 47, Bridges 76) – Melbourne Heart 0, Round 19, Season 7 at Hunter Stadium, 11/02/2012.

Heaviest Defeat –
Jets 0 – Melbourne Heart 3 (Fred 66, Dugandzic 73, Behich 85), Round 6, Season 7 at AAMI Park, 12/11/2011.

Leading Scorers in fixture
Jets – 6 (Ryan Griffiths), Melbourne Heart – 5 (Mate Dugandzic)

Coaches Head to Head
0 matches.

Newcastle Jets Coaching Records
Craig Deans – 1 match (1 win, 0 draws and 0 losses = 100% win ratio)
Gary Van Egmond – 7 matches (3 wins, 1 draw and 3 losses = 43% win ratio)
Branko Culina – 3 matches (1 win, 1 draws and 1 loss = 33% win ratio)

Average Home crowd – 9856

Key facts:

  • The Jets have won the last 4 matches at home against the Melbourne Heart.
  • The Heart’s recent good run of form started with a win over the Jets in Round 15.
  • The Jets have never been behind at half-time, at home, against the Heart.
  • The Jets have scored two or more goals against the Heart at home in their last 4 matches and have scored against the Heart in the last 6 matches in total.
  • The Jets have received almost twice as many bookings as the Heart (35-18) and have never had a match in which a player hasn’t been booked.
  • Ruben Zadkovich is the most booked player in this clash with 3 bookings.
  • Adam Taggart became the second ever Jets player to reach double figures for goals scored in a season.
  • The last match against the Heart would prove to be the final match in charge for Gary Van Egmond.
  • Peter Green and Ryan Shepeard have both officiated two victories for the Jets.
  • Two players have been dismissed during this clash – Jobe Wheelhouse and Curtis Good. Wheelhouse was dismissed after 8 minutes but the jets went on to win with 10-men 2-0 thanks to goals from Jeffers and Jesic.
  • The next match will see Ruben Zadkovich become the equal 5th most capped Jets player with 92 appearances, level with Labinot Haliti.

The Referee – TBA