Saturday, 15 February 2014 7:46 PM
Brisbane Roar and Newcastle Jets will meet in a Round 19 fixture of the 2013-14 A-League season at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday, February 16 at 5pm (AEDT).
Played: 26 – Wins: Roar 9, Jets 10, Draws: 7
Roar 0-2 Jets, December 20, 2013
Past five matches:
Brisbane maintained their healthy lead at the top of the A-League ladder after last weekend’s gripping 1-1 draw with the Western Sydney Wanderers. It makes it four games without defeat for the Roar and with the Wanderers not in action this weekend, Mike Mulvey’s side could open up a 10-point gap at the top with a victory here and put one hand on the Premiers’ Plate. There are no fresh injury concerns for the home side, although skipper Matt McKay is still missing with a foot injury.
Things aren’t so rosy at Newcastle with Clayton Zane’s side now going seven games without victory after their disappointing 3-2 loss at home to Wellington last Sunday. While exciting youngster Andrew Hoole misses out through suspension, marquee man Emile Heskey has been named in the squad after two weeks out with a back injury while Socceroos hopeful avid Carney could also make his club debut. The Jets won’t fear heading to Suncorp, having lost just twice from 12 games at the venue.
The big issue:
Roar – They may be the most successful side of the last few seasons but there’s something about coming up against the Jets that doesn’t agree with the men in Orange. Brisbane haven’t won any of their last four games against the Jets, including two defeats both home and away already this campaign. Form might be on the Roar’s side but they need to overcome their Newcastle hoodoo to get the points in this one.
Jets – If Newcastle are to stop the rot and get kick-start their finals hopes then they will need to start games much better. Of the last 11 goals the Jets have scored in the A-League, nine of those have come in the second half as they try and salvage something from the game. Against a Brisbane side at the peak of their powers, they can’t afford to be playing catch-up again.
The game breaker:
Besart Berisha – If there were any question marks over how Berisha would perform since announcing his move to Melbourne Victory for next season, the Albanian has answered them emphatically. One of the best marksmen to ever grace the A-League, Berisha seems to be hitting top gear at just the right time and has bagged three goals in his last four appearances. If Brisbane are to end their Newcastle nightmare, expect Berisha to play a leading role.