This was the first time Ernie Merrick faced his former club since walking out on the ‘Nix in late 2016. With the upcoming World Cup qualifiers set to deplete the ‘Nix they needed to give their campaign a boost.

It was obvious that Merrick had done his homework.

As the Phoenix persisted with playing out from the back – the Jets pressed them throughout and forced turnover after turnover. Whilethe first goal was an abomination from Goran Paracki, it could have been the managers instructions and the mindset of the players that led to his incredibly misdirected back pass. 

The error and subsequent goal sparked the Jets into form and they punished a poor Phoenix outfit. The score in the end flattered Phoenix, who have now conceded 6 in 3 halves of football.

Newcastle Jets

Jack Duncan – 7

Positioned well throughout and had very little to do on a cold wet night in the Hunter. Think he was spotted playing with the kids on the hill at one stage, just to stay warm.

Ivan Vujica – 7

Movement was good up and down the left flank but the second half saw the Jets shift focus predominantly down their right, so had limited touches.

Nikolai Topor-Stanley – 7

Did well and even chimed in with some of the attacking forays. Forming a solid partnership with twin tower Nigel Boogaard in the heart of defence.

Nigel Boogaard – 8

Rock solid. Got forward for set pieces but broke down anything and everything the lackluster Phoenix attack threw at him. Impressive start to the year for Boogs.

Jason Hoffman – 7

In for Daniel Georgievski and his first start and did a handy job on the right putting in some dangerous looking crosses.