Jets missing one key element in premiership race

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You can only knock on the door for so long before your knuckles start bleeding and that’s what happened to Ernie Merrick’s side in their 2-0 loss to league leaders Perth Glory on Sunday.

It just felt like one of those days.

It was beyond obvious to observe what the team was lacking. The Jets registered a grand total of 22 shots but ultimately ended the game scoreless.

Perth on the other hand made the most of their limited opportunities in front of goal.

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“I think in total they had one or two shots, a penalty and a wide free kick,” Ernie Merrick said.

“Once a team like that go two goals ahead it’s always going to be very difficult to break them down.”

The Jets lacked any real leadership in attack. On occasion, they played genuinely attractive and free-flowing football but lacked the bite that converts nice football into goals.

Speaking of ‘bite’, a certain Irishman springs to mind.

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The return of Roy O’Donovan has the potential to resolve many of the issues the Jets have faced early on in the season. He provides leadership, a focal point and the finishing ability that the Jets have been desperately lacking.

“We’d like to think Roy would finish some of those chances,” Merrick said.

He’s a player that injects so much belief into the teammates around him and his comeback next week against his former club in the F3 derby is set up to be almost too poetic.

Merrick was assured in saying that O’Donovan is very sharp and in outstanding physical condition.

“The distances he’s covering in high intensity areas in training and in intra-club games are breaking records at the club.

“Believe me, he’s lost weight, he’s super fit and he’s very highly motivated to come back.

O’Donovan has now completed the 10 match ban for his reckless high boot on Laurence Thomas in the grand final last season against Melbourne Victory.

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After an inconsistent and challenging start to the season for the Jets, the return of Roy O’Donovan may be a major turning point that reignites the ruthlessness and excitement of Newcastle’s attack last season.

And why not test that theory on the neighbours up the road?

“He’s coming back at the right time.”

Feature image credit: Sproule Sports Focus

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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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