Before a ball had even been kicked this season, the Jets were already struggling, with the high profile exits of manager Carl Robinson and star player Bernie Ibini.
With losses in their opening 4 matches, it looked like it was going to be a long season for the Jets fans, who haven’t tasted success since 2008.
However the Jets were showing some promise, with loan stars Ramy Najjarine (Melbourne City) and Luka Prso (Osijek) linking up well with local hero Angus Thurgate.
But, injuries, suspensions and a real lack of solid squad depth would be strings in the bow of Newcastle’s disappointing season, with lack of fire power up front and a shaky defence rounding it out.
Current position: 12th
Manager: Craig Deans
Captain: Nigel Boogaard
Nikolai Topor-Stanley: Mr. Reliable for Newcastle, Nikolai Topor-Stanley always puts his body on the line for his team.
Despite being 36 now, Topor-Stanley has still remained as the rock at the back for the Jets.
A real leader on and off the park, good in the air and calm and collected, if Topor-Stanley signs on, he and James Donachie who has impressed on loan in India with FC Goa could turn out to be a really solid defensive partnership next season for the Jets.
Angus Thurgate: The local hero dubbed as “The Port Macquarie Pele” Thurgate is among the first names on the Jets team sheet.
One of few shining lights for the Jets this season, Thurgate has gone from strength to strength this season and has illustrated his uncapped potential within a midfield role.
An agile player, who seems to almost have the ball on a string at times, the only weapon missing from Thurgate’s arsenal is finishing ability.
If Thurgate can regularly find the back of the net, he could see his game go to the next level.
Luka Prso: The young Aussie arrived in the A-League as a little known player on loan from Osijek in Croatia, with a big name on the back of his shirt as he is the nephew of Croatian legend Dado Prso.
A talent in midfield, Prso has featured regularly for the Jets and has linked up well with Thurgate who is a clear talent who can pick a pass and with great ball skills.
Prso is certainly one for the future but not quite the finished product as of yet.
What they need to do:
Plan for next season
With 11th place being Jets best possible finish, there isn’t much they can really do except plan for next season, the last few games of the season should be a good measure of what players Deans has in his plans for the 2021/22 season and a good chance for any other players to prove they deserve their spot.
With 11 of their 15 losses coming by a margin of only one goal, the Jets must start to capitalise on their chances in front of goal.
With striker Roy O’Donovan, who will be 36 next season, has only found the back of the net 6 times this season and mid-season signing Stamatelopoulos only finding the net twice, Jets boss Deans may have to look elsewhere next season.
Predicted finish: 11th
Image credit – Getty