All posts by Jeterpool

Striking It Fine – The Jets Number 9s!

In the days following another Jets defeat in the FFA Cup Round of 32, the post mortem of the performance was undertaken in the media, on forums and through social channels. One point I didn’t see discussed was, as it currently stands, that Newcastle are now 620 minutes without scoring a goal in competitive matches. While Dimi Petratos came within mere millimetres and his brother Kosta came within Jordan Elsey’s head of breaking that drough , Ernie Merrick correctly pointed out in the Newcastle Herald the need to recruit more goals into the team.

This got me thinking about the Jets history of recruiting strikers, in particular those who have been allocated the shirt synonymous with the primary job of putting the ball in the back of the net – the number 9. With Roy O’Donovan the latest incumbent to this position, withthe opportunity to become just the 3rd Jets player to reach double figures ahead of him, lets take a look over the players to have worn ‘9’ for the Jets and their relative performances while wearing that shirt.

2005 – 2006 Ante Milicic
The former Socceroo was a massive signing for the Jets in the first year of the A-League. Forever written into the club’s history as the first scorer in the A-League, Milicic scored 7 goals in 20 appearances in his only season before heading to Queensland Roar.

2006 – 2007 Vaughan Coveny
A mid-season recruit the previous year, the New Zealand international scored 5 goals in 21 appearances wearing 9 that season. Coveny wasn’t retained at the end of that season and headed to new franchise Wellington Phoenix, following the demise of New Zealand Knights.

2007 – 2009 Joel Griffiths
After wearing 18 in his first season back in Australia, Griffiths scored 21 goals in 39 appearances, including a 14 goal season that brought the A-League title to Newcastle. It can’t be disputed that Griffiths is the Jets’ iconic number 9 and this period is by far the most successful of any wearing the shirt.

2009-2010 – Sasho Petrovski
During his time wearing the 9, Petrovski’s performances were underwhelming – scoring just 2 goals in 19 appearances (6 of which were starts). Despite this, the following season Petrovski would score 6 goals in 291 minutes of play for the Jets the following season to back up his ACL heroics.

2010-2011 Shuo Zhang
Branko Culina recruited the former Chinese international from Persik Kediri to add more fire power up front. And like the Jets that season, Shuo struggled and he scored his solitary goal in 8 appearances against Gold Coast United.

2011-2012 Michael Bridges
The Englishman was the next to wear the Jets 9, and like the two before him, struggled to find the net – scoring 2 goals in 17 appearances. It must be mentioned that Bridges appearances during this season were limited to just 4 starts and 13 from the bench in 614 minutes of play. He’d later vacate the shirt that was would be taken by his compatriot.

2012-2014 Emile Heskey
Arguably the highest profile player to wear a Jets shirt, let alone the number 9, Heskey was an immediate success for the Jets – scoring 5 goals in his first 6 appearances. During his first campaign netted 9 times in 23 matches before struggling with injury in his second, when he scored once in 19 appearances as young striker Adam Taggart had a break out season.

2014-2015 Joel Griffiths
After returning in the previous January to much fanfare, Griffiths would make 15 appearances and score 3 goals before being unceremoniously dumped from the team as part of a mid-season clear-out by then-owner Nathan Tinkler and coach Phil Stubbins.

2015-2016 Milos Trifunovic
New coach Scott Miller recruited Trifunovic to his new Jets team. Many Jets fans were torn on Serbian, but his record certainly holds up as the “Ice-man” netted 9 goals in 22 appearances, including 4 penalties. His goals per game ratio is one every 2.44 – the same as Joel Griffiths and Adam Taggart.

2016-2017 Aleksandr Kokko
Kokko was recruited by Miller prior to his departure from the club, and after sustaining an injury in the first half of his first A-League appearance, the Finn struggled to gain any momentum in his Jets career. His only goal in 13 appearances came against the Mariners, though he left legacy with fans after continuing to play with a broken draw sustained in the F3 Derby.

2017-currentRoy O’Donovan
The Irishman has been recruited to provide more mobility and aggression in the Jets front line. He showed at the Central Coast Mariners he can find the back of the net – often in spectacular fashion. It’s form he will need to replicate, with the help of those around him, for the Jets to break their finals hoodoo this year.

Looking over the 13 seasons, the “Number 9” has been worn 216 times, for an output of 61 goals (or a goal every 3.54 games). This means the player with the symbolic responsibility to put the ball in the net is scoring just over 7 goals per season (27 game season).I acknowledge there are many circumstances that impact these numbers and a striker’s effectiveness and I’m not suggesting this will reflect the contribution of O’Donovan on the Jets this season. But it is clear that a great output from the Jets marksman is needed if the club are to again play finals football.

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:

Statistics

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