The A-League is back for a frantic month of football action to crown a champion for the 2019-20 season. Western United’s playoff chances could hinge on this assignment in Newcastle.
History: Played 2: Newcastle 1 V Western United 0 (1 Draw)
Last meeting: February 1, 2020: 0-0 draw at McDonald Jones Stadium
Final Thoughts: Newcastle Jets and Western United sit outside the A-League’s top six, but both are unbeaten since the season’s restart.
The eighth-placed Jets stunned Sydney FC 2-1 in their first match back, recovering from a goal down at halftime via second-half scores from Nick Fitzgerald and Kosta Petratos. But a nil-all draw against last-placed Central Coast effectively ended their already-tenuous finals hopes.
Newcastle are six points adrift of sixth with only two games to play and a poor goal differential.
Western United, however, are in the playoffs race up to their eyeballs. The seventh-placed A-League newcomers beat Melbourne Victory 2-1 in their return last Saturday, Tomi Uskok and Max Burgess scoring the goals.
Western United are still four points behind sixth-placed Adelaide, but they have played three games less than the Reds. Marc Rudan’s side still has four matches to play after facing the Jets.
The Jets are undefeated in two encounters to date with Western United. Angus Thurgate’s first-half goal secured a 1-0 win for Newcastle in Geelong in Week 6. The teams played out a scoreless stalemate in Week 17 in Newcastle.
With Perth, Sydney and Melbourne City on the docket for their last three games, Western United need to bank some competition points from their next two against Newcastle and Western Sydney. The Jets are unbeaten in their last five at home and have lost just one of their last 10 overall. But they will be deflated after last week’s fizzer against the Mariners and will be vulnerable against a United side with their tails up and plenty at stake.