The Palmerbet Sports Team analyse the 2018 A-League Grand Final – and with Sydney FC out of the picture, it’s the Newcastle Jets and Melbourne Victory who will duke it out for the trophy on Saturday night.
History: Played 36: Newcastle 15 V Melbourne Victory 13 (8 Draws).
Last meeting: February 3, 2018: Newcastle 2 d Melbourne Victory 0 at McDonald Jones Stadium.
Final Thoughts: The Newcastle Jets and Melbourne Victory have emerged from a semi-final weekend dripping with drama to contest the 2018 A-League Grand Final.
The Jets overcame halftime deficit and some patchy late-season form to defeat Melbourne City 2-1, with Riley McGree and Jason Hoffman scoring in the second half to clinch the first spot in the decider. It was the Jets’ first finals match since 2010.
Then in one of the most extraordinary finals matches in A-League history, the Victory trumped all-conquering Sydney FC 3-2 in extra-time. Terry Antonis put aside the anguish of an own goal in injury time that levelled the scores to net the winner in the 116th minute.
All three games between the sides this season have gone to the home side: the Jets romped in 4-1 in Round 8 and 2-0 in Round 19, while the Victory got up 2-1 in Melbourne in Round 13.
The Victory have won just one of their last 12 in Newcastle and have lost two of their last three games on the road this season, though last week’s boilover in Sydney should provide them with some away confidence.
The Jets have won nine and drawn two of their 15 home games, though they have lost two of their last three at McDonald Jones Stadium.
Melbourne Victory, champions in 2015 and Grand Final runners-up last year certainly hold the edge in big-match experience and big names. Newcastle are playing in a grand final for the first time since taking out the 2008 title.
But the Jets, narrow favourites, have been the better side across the season and we’re backing the Novocastrian faithful to prove the difference in getting their heroes across the line.