Dimitri Petratos and Andrew Nabbout are flourishing under the guidance of Ernie Merrick this season.

The duo has been terrorising A-League defences at will through the opening six rounds on route to Newcastle Jets undefeated run to the top of the table.

A combined five goals and five assists between the pair is a just reward for the free-flowing football Merrick has got his headline men flaunting.

Merrick has essentially given his front-line a license to unleash every portion of flair and creativity they can muster, an approach that could be and very well should be far more prevalent around the league.

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Petratos’ growing stature was clear-cut in his final days at Brisbane Roar and upon his return from his undesirable stint at Ulsan Hyundai he has risen to another level.

The signs of his boundless technical ability were always there but his decision making in the early days was always the final hurdle holding Petratos back from A-League stardom.

In 2017-18 Petratos has benefited from the move to the No. 10 role of a 4-2-3-1 pulling the strings in the heart of Newcastle forward-line vacated by the unfortunate injury to new marquee Jet Ronald Vargas.

Two rounds have now passed since the Vargas injury in Round 4 away at Brisbane and Petratos has churned out two MOTM performances in consecutive weeks.

It seems as though the freedom and confidence bestowed in him at Newcastle has unlocked the final piece of the puzzle to Petratos becoming a genuine headline act of Australian football.

The same can be said of Nabbout who in the early stages of last season was banging in goals for fun until the late season collapse of Newcastle’s season that ended on a nine-game winless streak.

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However at this point in time Nabbout has forgotten that slump and returned to the form that earned him so much acclaim.

In the same vein as Petratos, he is revelling in the no restriction based philosophy implemented by Merrick which is further exemplified by the sheer number of attacking raids by the Jets week in – week out.

Not shy of taking a punt on goal, Nabbout is regularly firing at goal in support of striker O’Donovan and causing plenty of headaches for opposing defences in the process.

“A draw’s not good enough at this club, that’s what we’ve been trying to instil, it’s about winning, it’s about entertaining,” said Merrick a fortnight ago.

This one statement sums up the rejuvenation of Newcastle Jets and rightly so they now lead the league after six rounds mainly courtesy of the above approach to playing 90 minutes of goal-hungry football.

The Jets are soaring right now and boy is it a welcome sight for the A-League.

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Josh is a student journalist at the University of Queensland currently covering Brisbane Roar's 17/18 season.