The records Ernie Merrick has to put an end to

It’s another year at the Newcastle Jets, and it’s another fresh start. Once again they have a new manager, this time two-time A-League winner Ernie Merrick is at the helm and if pre-season form is anything to go by they look a lot better than they did last season. Signings such as Roy O’Donovan, Dimitri Petratos, Daniel Georigevski, and Nikolai Topor-Stanley has been integral in recent wins over Melbourne City, Wellington Phoenix, and Sydney FC. Will we see something lethal out of Newcastle this year? 

It is getting to the point where we certainly need to see Newcastle competitive again. Last season they have received their second wooden spoon in three years, and to make that number sound worse, they haven’t made the A-League finals series since 2009-10. For those of you struggling on this Monday morning, that is eight years without finals footy. Can you remember what you were doing eight years ago?

Anyway here are some of the records Ernie Merrick would have lying in the top folder on his desk. The things Newcastle need to rectify if they are to be a contender this campaign.

Newcastle have gone five matches without scoring, and it has been 530 since their last goal. Andrew Nabbout converted a 10th minute penalty in their 3-1 loss to Brisbane at home. Their last goal from open came play the week before against Central Coast, 600 minutes ago. It’s not just the club. Only Adam Taggart in 2013-14 has reached double figures in a campaign since the Jets last made the finals. He scored 16 that season. Their leading goal scorer has not done too well in recent years:

  • Milos Trifunovic (2015-16) 9
  • Ryan Griffiths and Jeremy Brockie (2011-12) 9
  • Andrew Nabbout (2016-17) 8
  • Emile Heskey (2012-13) 8
  • Edson Montano (2014-15) 6
  • Sasho Petrovski (2010-11) 6

Newcastle haven’t beat Sydney FC since December 2012. Thirteen matches have been played between those sides, we’ve had four Prime Ministers since, and Sydney have won 11 of the past 12 matches with a sole draw in January 2015 being the last time Newcastle have taken a point away from Graham Arnold’s Sydney FC.

Newcastle haven’t beat Sydney since 2012, they’ve also never beat Western Sydney at home. Ever. The Wanderers have visited Hunter Stadium seven times since their inception and have walked away with a ‘W’ five times, drawing twice. Merrick gets two bites at the cherry this season, in October and December, if they don’t win any of those they’ll have to wait another year.

It’s not just the Wanderers and Sydney FC who they struggle at home against. Their last win at Hunter Stadium against Central Coast was in October 2012, and you have to go back to November 2011 to find Newcastle’s last win at home to Perth.

Other than the two wins in the 2015-16 season, Newcastle have only beat their F3 rivals the Central Coast Mariners once since that match in October 2012. That’s three wins in 15 matches. They’ve had five losses and seven draws in that time and fans of the Jets will be wanting to get the bragging rights back. Stealing their best striker in Roy O’Donovan is a start but there’s three matches to be played this year, three matches that Jets fans want to win.

Branko Culina was the last manager to take the Jets to the finals. That was in the 2009-10 season, that was eight seasons ago. Newcastle have had eight managers since. Culina, Gary van Egmond, Craig Teams (interim), Clayton Zane (interim), Phil Stubbins, Scott Miller, and Mark Jones have all tried and failed to get the Jets into the finals since. Gary van Egmond’s stint between October 2011 to December 2014 was the longest time a Newcastle manager has stayed in the role since. Ernie Merrick is a mad-man for taking this job but it might just be the right type of insanity Newcastle have been looking for.

Newcastle have conceded 479 goals in 12 A-League seasons, eight more than second placed Perth Glory. The Jets could be the first team in A-League history to concede 500 goals. Now of course they’re going to do it eventually but a nice little challenge Merrick can set for his team (if he knows about this) is to try and avoid conceding 21 goals before Perth concede 29.

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