Melbourne Victory twice came from behind to steal a draw.
Newcastle made it three wins from three against Brisbane this season.
Adelaide kept a third consecutive clean sheet in a tight win.
Mark Bridge’s looping header against his former side took the Wanderers back into the top 4.
Newcastle Jets v Central Coast Mariners is often touted as an interstate derby, but in recent years the trend has been for it to be quite a ‘tactical’ battle.
A goalless stalemate suited the dour nature of this match.
The first game of the new season finished as a comfortable win for the home side.
Gary Van Egmond was responsible for Newcastle’s stunning surge to the 2008-09 A-League title, but his return to the club has not inspired them back to such lofty heights. He’s now the second longest serving coach at a current club in the league (behind Graham Arnold), but he’s many people’s choice for first sacked, illustrating the pressure he’s under this season after last year’s frustrating inconsistency.
The last few years have been nothing short of disaster for Newcastle – there has been an identity crisis both on and off the pitch, most notably with their change in jersey colour, and more importantly, there has been an attempted change in style under Gary van Egmond.
While it was initially difficult for the former Premiership winning coach to establish his own mark on a side given he took over a few weeks into a new season following the controversial departure of Branko Culin, but his profile was stamped all over the club’s off-season business: there was a clear focus on signing young, technically proficient young talent that would mould into Van Egmond’s preferred style of play. He wants a high-tempo, possession-based game, inspired by the success of Brisbane.
“We’re pretty close to having the largest clean-out from last year’s squad to this year’s in A-League terms,” said Van Egmond. “That reflects the type of football we are trying to play – based on possession, mobility, targeting age groups that can be effective. But also, we have one eye on three to five years down the line, when these younger players are going to be very good indeed. I think that’s important, the long-term plan – Rome wasn’t built in a day.”
An entertaining game that will be remembered for two stunning strikes from Marco Rojas rather than for the tactical battle. As it were, this was a strange game with little overall pattern, so here are ten observations.