Match Preview: Newcastle v Wanderers

The Western Sydney Wanderers have their first away match of the season as they take the trip up the M1 to face the Newcastle Jets on Sunday afternoon.

The side are in a confident mood after their dominating 5-0 win over Western United, where the side equalled the record for most goals scored in a first half, as Lachlan Brook and Nicolas Milanovic bagged doubles, whilst Marcelo also got on the scoresheet from a corner.

It was a statement victory from the Wanderers after being held to a goalless draw in their opening match, with Jorrit Hendrix being impressive in midfield once again, as well as three A-League debuts for Oscar Priestman, Anthony Pantazopoulos and Dylan Scicluna.

The game also saw the team keep a second clean sheet in a row, as the team continues their defensive solidity seen last season.

They will hope to keep the run going against the Jets, who are so far winless in the A-League Men’s season; they did score a stoppage time equaliser in their opening game against Perth to secure a point, but were then undone by an unstoppable performance from Melbourne Victory’s Bruno Fornaroli, as the striker scored four goals in the first half, condemning the Jets to a 5-3 defeat.

There were positives for the Novocastrians to take out of the clash, as they hit the front early through former Wanderer Mark Natta, as well as the performance of youngster Clayton Taylor, who scored twice and was a constant thorn in the Victory defence.

The Jets do have defensive problems of their own, having shipped seven goals in the opening two matches, and it will be something the Wanderers attack will look to expose just as they mercilessly punished Western United last time out.

Newcastle and new manager Robbie Stanton will be fired up for this match though, as it is the Jets first home game of the season, and the Newcastle fans will get the chance to see many new faces for the first time, as the team has gone through a rebuild in the offseason.

Former Wanderers fullback Daniel Wilmering is now at the side, joining the likes of Taylor, Ryan Scott and Apostolos Stamatelopoulos, though the side was weakened by the loss of key players Beka Mikeltadze and Angus Thurgate.

Newcastle will also hope the midfield pairing of Brandon O’Neil and new signing Jason Berthomier will gel quickly, with the pair lining up together for the first time last weekend.

Overall, there are five former Wanderers players in the Jets squad, including Thomas Aquilina, Philip Cancar and Kosta Grozos, who scored a wonder goal in the Jets first game of the season.

The Wanderers won the head-to-head battle between the teams last season, winning 2-0 at CommBank Stadium, before being held to a frustrating 1-1 draw in the return fixture at a waterlogged McDonald Jones Stadium, where the pitch conditions hampered the Wanderers ability to take their chances.

Western Sydney also hold a narrow advantage in the overall head-to-head ledger between the sides, with 11 wins to Newcastle’s nine; the Wanderers’ last win in Newcastle came in January 2021, where current fullback Tate Russell was on the scoresheet as the Red and Black secured a 2-1 win.

McDonald Jones Stadium was the venue of one of the Wanderers’ finest achievements, as they secured the Premiers Plate at the ground back in 2013 thanks to a 3-0 victory, where over 10,000 Wanderers fans made the trip up North for the occasion, and whilst this weekend’s match doesn’t hold the same significance, the Wanderers will hope it can be another step in the right direction towards attaining silverware at season’s end.