Newcastle Jets will win the A-League

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You heard it here first. Newcastle Jets will be the 2017/18 Hyundai A-League champions and here’s why…

The timing of this article may seem quite strange firstly because it’s so early in the season but also because Newcastle have just come off their first defeat of the season away at current champions Sydney FC.

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Coach Ernie Merrick won’t be drawn into making excuses for Saturday’s performance however or any other poor showings from his side this season.

“You can’t kick off the game and play for 45 minutes like that and expect to get anything out of it so we have to learn,” Merrick said in an interview this week.

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The Jets have proved they are one of the teams to beat this season winning tricky games on the road against the unpredictable Adelaide United and Brisbane Roar as well as battering Wellington Phoenix and rivals Central Coast Mariners.

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Two frustrating draws at home against Western Sydney Wanderers and Perth Glory go down as missed opportunities for the Jets having dominated in chances created which should have resulted in wins in both games.

News this week of Roy O’Donovan’s absence for the next few weeks will hinder the Jets after the Irishman contributed seven goals in his opening six appearances.

But they may be able to find a way to get through this period by deploying Andrew Nabbout at striker whose form has been on an upward curve since his first goal against Phoenix in Round 5.

Coupled with the work rate and creative flair of Dimitri Petratos who has contributed four goals at vital moments for Newcastle and they just may be able to ride the bumps at the attacking end of the field until the return of O’Donovan which will be a massive boost.

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Merrick himself has admitted to favouring attacking flair over defensive solidity.

“I’ve never been that worried about clean sheets. To me it’s making sure we score more goals than the opposition rather than conceding less,” he said after securing their only clean sheet of the season against Phoenix.

Injuries have and will continue to be an issue but they can strike any side at anytime. Ultimately it comes down to the coach inspiring his players to perform and believe that they really can go all the way.

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So far the signs are there that it’s far more than just a pipe dream and the long suffering Novocastrian faithful may soon have something to cheer about.

Tonight’s clash with an improving Melbourne Victory followed by a huge game against Melbourne City the weekend after will be a good marker a third of the way through the season of just how far this Jets’ side will go.

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Michael Cook
Michael Cook
Living and studying in Newcastle. Pretty obsessed with football. Newcastle Jets and Chelsea FC fan

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