Jets struggle to convert performances into results

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Following a tight 1-1 draw against Sydney FC at home, Newcastle Jets are winless after four games. Despite the decent quality of performances in early rounds, Newcastle have been unable to convert that quality into points – which is ultimately the only thing that matters.

The most difficult thing about achieving something great is the challenge of repeating it. The Jets are being met with this challenge as they look to follow up the success of their 2017/18 A-League campaign.

There is no need to sound the alarm bells just yet, but the fact is that Newcastle are winless in four games is concerning.

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One could point to a variety of reasons for this slow start with coach Ernie Merrick explaining, “we’re not under the radar anymore.” Teams are prepared and approach games against Newcastle with more caution.

The Jets are also currently without Roy O’Donovan and Joey Champness as well as dealing with the integration of new unproven players which could explain why the side are yet to be in full flight.

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Despite this, the Jets have performed fairly well in their first few games. Newcastle still feel like the team that took the league by storm last season, but are operating at a lower intensity.

The main aspect of play that seems to be limiting the Jets is their lack of ruthlessness in the final third. You could chalk that up to the absence of O’Donovan, who provides an attacking focal point and has a knack of bringing the best out of his surrounding attacking midfielders.

Merrick admitted that Jason Hoffman doesn’t quite have the same positional instinct as O’Donovan.

“O’Donovan makes the right runs at the right time.

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Jason remember used to be a fullback so he’s still getting used to it and does a good job.”

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Merrick also maintains optimism about the season, and is relatively unconcerned about the slow start.

“The team that won it last year lost the first seven, finished fourth and won the grand final. There’s a lot of chances to win this comp without finishing in the top two.”

It’s frustrating for fans to see their club playing decent football, but lacking that extra level of quality and ruthlessness to convert the good performance into three points. After the game, Merrick shared this frustration.

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“I think as coaches we use that (performance was good – results will come) as an excuse a lot of the time… the bottom line is performance is a lot of nonsense if you don’t win games, but we’ve got plenty of time to do that.”

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Harry Keating
Harry Keating
Intern at The Football Sack covering The Newcastle Jets A-League and W-League home matches!

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