Melbourne Victory makes the trip to Newcastle to face the Jets in a Grand Final rematch as two stars get set for milestone appearances.
Lawrence Thomas and James Troisi are in line to play their 100th games in Victory colours in Saturday’s clash at McDonald Jones Stadium.
Thomas and Troisi were among Victory’s heroes the last time the team visited Newcastle in May, when Kosta Barbarouses’ early goal gave it a Grand Final win and record fourth Hyundai A-League championship.
Victory enters the Round 3 clash after back-to-back losses to begin the Hyundai A-League season.
It came from behind against Perth Glory on Sunday, only for a late Chris Ikonomidis goal to sink Victory at AAMI Park.
Terry Antonis and Storm Roux were on the scoresheet for Victory, while Keisuke Honda assisted both.
Honda has been involved in all three of Victory’s league goals this season, having scored in the Derby in Round 1.
Victory has injury worries up front, with Kenny Athiu hurting his hamstring in the loss to Glory, while Ola Toivonen (calf) is yet to make his debut for the club.
The Jets have collected one point from their opening two league games of the campaign.
Victory has lost just two of its past nine games against the Jets, although both of those defeats came last season.
Melbourne Victory squad: 1.Matt ACTON (gk), 2.Storm ROUX, 3. Corey BROWN, 4.Keisuke HONDA, 5.Georg NIEDERMEIER, 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 8.Terry ANTONIS, 9.Kosta BARBAROUSES, 10.James TROISI, 13.Birkan KIRDAR, 14.Thomas DENG, 15.Raul BAENA, 16.Josh HOPE, 19. Rahmat AKBARI, 20.Lawrence THOMAS (gk), 21.Carl VALERI (c), 22.Nick ANSELL, 23.Jai INGHAM
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 13.Birkan KIRDAR (promoted), 16.Josh HOPE (promoted), 19. Rahmat AKBARI (promoted)
Outs: Kenny ATHIU (hamstring – TBC)
Unavailable: Ola TOIVONEN (calf – TBC)
Player in focus
What they said
“Victory has signed a lot of high-quality players so it’s going to be an exciting game. Hopefully it’ll be a more open game than the last two, which really suits us, but we’re pretty keen to play at home against Victory. It’s not a revenge game, it’s about taking three points in every match and getting into the finals and taking it from there.” – Jets head coach Ernie Merrick.
“If you look at when we’re in possession of the ball and the amount of chances we’re creating and the attacking football that we’re producing, you can see the signs of progression from that getting to know each other perspective. The reality is for us at this point in time, in both boxes, we’ve got to be a lot more aggressive to the contest than we are currently.” – Victory head coach Kevin Muscat.
Hyundai A-League 2017/18 Grand Final
Newcastle Jets 0-1 Melbourne Victory
Saturday, May 5, 2018
McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
Barbarouses scored the game’s only goal in the ninth minute with a deflected strike from inside the area.
Thomas was enormous for Victory, while Jets striker Roy O’Donovan was sent off late for a dangerous challenge on the goalkeeper.
As it stands
Head to head
Grand Final, 2017/18: Jets 0-1 Victory at McDonald Jones Stadium
Round 19, 2017/18: Jets 2-0 Victory at McDonald Jones Stadium
Round 13, 2017/18: Victory 2-1 Jets at AAMI Park
Round 8, 2017/18: Jets 4-1 Victory at McDonald Jones Stadium
Round 19, 2016/17: Jets 0-0 Victory at McDonald Jones Stadium
Newcastle Jets v Melbourne Victory
McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
Saturday, November 3, 2018
Kick-off: 7.50pm AEDT