A-League mid-season report card: Newcastle Jets

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We are at the halfway mark of the 2019/20 A-League season, so it’s about time The Football Sack takes a look at the performance of Newcastle Jets. 

Semester summary:  It has been a horror start to the season for the Jets. They sit at the bottom of the ladder, four points behind rivals the Central Coast Mariners.

They have the lowest amount of goals scored with 12 and the highest amount conceded with 27.

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Their last win was in round eight against the Western Sydney Wanderers and since then, they have picked up only one point.

It’s this poor run of results, most notably the six goals to two thrashing at the hands of Perth Glory, that led to Ernie Merrick leaving the club before their match against Sydney FC.

Areas of excellence: Given their ladder position and general stats it’s not easy to single out an area of excellence for the Jets.

Despite the poor results, the Jets do have one of the most disciplined sides in the competition.

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With zero players having been sent off so far this season and the second-lowest number of yellow cards with a total of 18.

They have also conceded the third-lowest number of fouls so far.

Areas in need of improvement: Their areas in need of improvement is more obvious. In attack, they are last in both goals scored and conversion rate.

They have a total of 178 shots with 68 of them on target and only 12 have gone in. This leaves them with a conversion ratio of nine per cent, the lowest in the league.

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Down the other end of the pitch, they have one of the worst defences in the league.

They have conceded a total of 27 goals, five more than the next worst which is Melbourne City with 22.

If the Jets want any chance of a decent second half of the season then Merrick’s replacement, who is yet to be announced, will have the task of improving the side at both ends.

Top student:  Steven Ugarkovic is proving to be one of the finds of the season and will be key in turning around the Jets’ season.

In their FFA cup clash against Melbourne Victory, Ugarkovic clocked up an astonishing 17 kilometres during the 120 minutes. This was just a taste of what the versatile midfielder would do for his side.

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His partnership with Ben Kantarovski in the middle of the park has arguably been the Jets’ strength so far this season and his ability to play in the midfield and defence will be key in the Jets revival.

In need of improvement: Forward Nick Fitzgerald joined the Jets at the start of the season from Western Sydney and has failed to live up to expectations.

Fitzgerald is one of the more experienced players in the squad with over 150 appearances in the A-League.

It has been a tough season for the Jets all over the park but if Fitzgerald can find some form, then hopefully he can use his experience and leadership to better results and form.

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Grade: F

Outlook: It’s not looking good for the remainder of the season.

It would be a miracle if they were to make the finals from here but based on their current form and the form of other teams in the competition, it’s looking unlikely.

Fans will be hoping the club recruits a new coach that will salvage the season but only time will tell.

Whoever does end up in the role will have a mammoth task on their hands, improving a squad that is struggling at both ends of the pitch.

Feature image credit: Newcastle Jets

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Declan Smith
Current Sports Media student at University of Canberra. Average footballer

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