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Season Preview 2015/16: Newcastle Jets

It’s fair to say it was a disappointing season for the Jets in 2014/15. Ownership and coaching changes created instability at the club, and this was clearly reflected in the performances of the team on the park.

This year, however, the Jets have a brand new outlook, and from all reports are much sharper on the training pitch. New manager Scott Miller has made his off-season moves, with Nigel Boogaard, Labinot Haliti, Mateo Poljak and Serbian striker Milos Trifunovic the notable inclusions. Miller will be looking to his new acquisitions to provide the spark and energy that was lacking in the last campaign, and hoping that the drop in crowd average last season (of about 3,000) can be reclaimed with a superior product ‘on the pitch’ this time around.

The losses of Andrew Hoole to Sydney and Jacob Pepper to the Wanderers will hurt, but Jets fans should be buoyed by the plethora of new signings and the return of some old faces — namely Jason Hoffman and Mark Birighitti.

2014/15 wash-up

3 wins, 8 draws, and 16 losses resulted in a poor tally of 17 points for the Jets, condemning them to last place in the A-League.

92015/16 predictions

Our contributors and fans were asked for their ladder predictions going into the new season, and whilst they’re predicting an improvement for the Jets, an average ranking of 8.14 means that they sit in 9th place on our adjusted ladder.

Ins & Outs

In Out
Mark Birighitti
Nigel Boogaard
Andy Brennan
Labinot Haliti
Jason Hoffman
Lachlan Jackson
Mateo Poljak
Leonardo Santiago
Milos Trifunovic
Cameron Watson
Zenon Caravella
Sam Gallagher
Andrew Hoole
Edson Montano
Scott Neville
Jacob Pepper
Taylor Regan
John Solari
Jess Vanstrattan
James Virgili
Allan Welsh

Fixtures

Split: 14 home, 13 away.
Round 1: Away vs Wellington Phoenix.
First Home fixture: Round 2 vs Sydney FC.
Rivalries/derbies: Central Coast (1 home, 2 away), Sydney FC (1 home, 2 away), Western Sydney (2 home, 1 away).
Notes: Unlike last season when the Jets didn’t have a home game until round 5 due to resurfacing works, this time around (after a trip to Wellington), Newcastle host both of last year’s Grand Finalists back-to-back. Throw in a Christmas Eve game against the Wanderers and a final round extravaganza versus bitter rivals Central Coast, and the Jets have a fun looking fixture this season.

Key Player

Mateo Poljak, over 66 games in the last 3 A-League seasons, was one of the more consistent members of Tony Popovic’s Western Sydney Wanderers squad. This season, though, he joins the Jets and new coach Scott Miller will surely look to the 26 year old Croatian to be a calming influence in the midfield, for a team that was crying out for such a player last season. He might not score too many goals from midfield (3 in 66 games), but his distribution from defensive midfield is second to none.

One to watch

Despite only having 3 games under his belt in the A-League, defender Lachlan Jackson could be due for a big season in 2015/16. The ex-Brisbane youngster impressed mightily in the Roar’s final two games of last season and will be looking to enjoy more game time this season at a new club. With the experienced duo of Daniel Mullen and Nigel Boogaard ahead of him, he may have to wait for his opportunity, but look for Jackson to play a key role down the stretch for the Jets.

Obscure trivia

You might not know the name too well, but new striker Andy Brennan came to the Jets from South Hobart FC, via South Melbourne in NPL Victoria. In his time at South Hobart, Brennan played in the first FFA Cup Round of 32 game to be “live streamed” – the same game where the ‘slice of cheese’ moniker for a booking was coined.

About the author

avatarJustin is a passionate football fan, and the Editor-in-chief of Ultimate A-League.

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