Newcastle and Melbourne will lock horns in the 2018 A-League Grand Final after both teams game from a goal down to win their respective semi final matches. A sold out crowd will be on hand at McDonald Jones Stadium to see if the Jets can win their second A-League title.
|Match (Time AEDT)||A-League Grand Final Tips|
|Newcastle v Melbourne Victory
|Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals ($1.70)
Value Bet: HT/FT – Newcastle/Newcastle ($3.75)
Correct Score: Newcastle 3-1 ($17.00)
A-League Tips & Preview Grand Final
Newcastle Jets v Melbourne Victory – (Sat 7:50pm)
Newcastle: The Jets are just a single win away form completing the unthinkable… Twelve months ago they collected the wooden spoon following a season that featured just 5 wins and a league worst defence – conceding 53 goals. A year on, coach Ernie Merrick has transformed the Jets into the entertainers of the A-League. They scored 57 goals in the regular season and managed to deal with the unexpected exit of their star player – Andrew Nabbout. This is just the second Grand Final appearance for one of the founding clubs of the competition and they will look to replicate their win over the Mariners in 2008.
Melbourne Victory: They are the most successful club in the history of the A-League. They are appearing in a record 6th Grand Final and are seeking an unprecedented 4th title. Add the 3 Premier’s Plates to that and last week’s win over Sydney FC is no fluke. This is a club that knows how to win – whether it be at home or on the road.
Head to Head
Despite the Jets being perennial cellar dwellers in recent years, they have been very competitive against the Victory. Dating back to 2012, Melbourne have posted 7 wins to Newcastle’s 6 with 5 draws. This season it was the Jets that won two of the three meetings, with both wins coming at McDonald Jones Stadium. Jets coach Ernie Merrick won multiple titles in his time at the Victory in a run where Kevin Muscat was a stalwart and his club captain. Now it is time for the apprentice to take on the master!
Stats That Matter
-Newcastle won both meetings at McDonald Jones Stadium this season
-The Jets have lost just 1 of their last 10 at home to the Victory (4 wins, 5 draws, 1 loss)
-Newcastle have scored multiple goals in 7 of their last 10 home games
-7 is the number of clean sheets the Jets have had this season
-The Victory have suffered 537 fouls this season (more than any other team)
-Leroy George (Melbourne) leads the A-League with 14 assists, Petratos (Newcaslte) is equal second with 9.
-There have been 3 or more goals in 8 of the last 10 Victory matches
Both sides showed great resilience to come back after conceding first last week but they can not afford a slow start in the Grand Final. This shapes as a real clash of styles with the Victory well known for their structured play while the Jets possess the most free flowing attack in the A-League. Melbourne will again look for Valeri, Broxham, Troisi and Antonis to control the centre of the park. That’s where it all starts for them. From there they will look to unleash Barbarouses and George on the wings with the A-League’s greatest ever scorer in Berisha spearheading the attack.
For the Jets it is all about the counter. That is how Ernier Merrick has built this attack and he deserves endless praise for the turnaround. He has completely transformed the style of play and the results were almost instant. It was though that they would struggle followig the departure of Nabbout but that certainly hasn’t been the case with O’Donovan, Petratos and McGree carrying more of the load. The experienced duo of Boogard and Topor-Stanley have led the way at the back with Georgievski displaying the same form that saw him win the Joe Marston Medal as the best player in the Grand Final in a losing side a year ago.
There is no doubt that the Victory will look to work their way into the match but The Wolf says that the Jets will flood forward on the counter at every opportunity. It makes for an entertaining battle and there will no doubt be goals, goals and more goals. The home team has claimed the honours in 6 of the last 7 Grand Finals with the Over going 5-2 in that stretch. The Wolf says that the Jets home crowd will get them over the line just as it has all season long.