David Lowe’s Lowedown | photos, video TweetFacebookDad’s Army fame, and Jets coach Mark Jones suggested that fans follow that advice, with a lot more rationale, after their 2-0defeat at the hands of the Wanderers on Sunday.
Nobody has forgotten how to play, got ahead of themselves, failed to compete, or anything of that ilk. The Jets lost to a side who have dominated many of their matches this seasonbut failed to capitalise.
That run was due to end. Indeed, a 0-0 draw with the unbeaten Sydney FC, in which they probably just shaded the contest, as recently as last week suggested Tony Popovic’s side were in pretty good nick.
The absence of Hoole, Nordstrand and Brownmeant the Jets were without a lot of energy, possibly their quickest and fittest player, and a fair dash of guile.
A big moment for the kid. Academy product Lachlan Scott scores his first @ALeague goal #WSWpic.twitter南京夜网/zaRjhVDVLc
— WS Wanderers FC (@wswanderersfc) January 22, 2017Lots of people like different players for different reasons. A quick glance at most top-flight player-of-the-year competitions reveals a glut of strikers or creative midfielders at the top of most polls.
Andrew Nabbout is close to the top of polls in the A-League, and he has had a very good year to date. For me, if his contribution has been better than Andrew Hoole’s, it is only by the smallest of margins.
The Jets have certainly been most effective and most dangerous when both have been on the pitch. It’s undoubtedly more comfortable for opponents, and much easier for opposing coaches to provide the necessary defensive cover, if one is absent.
Hoole can frustrate at times.I reckon two or three of his accumulated yellow cards could have been avoided, and, yes, his finishing could be a little more composed, but it does seem to be improving.
But, you know what, if he was a smooth, reliable, clinical goalscorer, he wouldn’t be playing in the A-League, because his engines, aggressionand deceptive acceleration would serve him well at a higher level.
That remains his challenge, to develop composure in front of goal, and improve game awareness and decision-making, because his athleticism and ability to glide past people make him a real handful.
Opposition defenders would seldom admit it, but I reckon the Wanderers left back Jack Clisby would have been smiling through the weekknowing that he would get forward without such a physical contest, and that whoever replaced Hoole was unlikely to threaten the space in behind him with anything approaching the same regularity.
Brown’s tenacity and forward runs were also missed, as indeed was the finesse of Nordstrand, which so complements the firepower of Hoole and Nabbout. I can’t help but think that both will be more effective against Melbourne City’s high defensive line, in the later evening timeslot on Friday in Coffs Harbour, with Hoole on deck, than they might have been in the direct sunlight at Campbelltown with a 5pm kick-off.
I don’t think it’s unfair to say that Melbourne City have struggled a little in the past month or so, and the Jets will fancy their chances against an expansive (and, indeed, expensive) City side.
What the Jets can’t afford is to have any defensive lapses, concentration or execution, or Messrs Fornaroli and Cahill will make them pay.
Defensive assignments at set pieces, in particular, will be of great interest. Whoever gets the job on Cahill will have to be very strong in terms of focus and physicalityto at least compete and stymie to an effective extent.
I reckon this is a game Jones and his players will be looking forward towith some relish. Big-name opponent, who will expect to dominate, push on, and who will leave space at the back in pursuit of that quest.
You might remember the Jets gave a decent account of themselves at AAMI Park earlier in the seasonand are without doubt more fluent and cohesive at this moment.
Two weeks ago, the Jets were fifth. Today they are eighth, without doing too much wrong. The three teams above them in the yo-yo group (from fifth to eighth) all have tricky away games this weekend, and it would be no surprise to see further exchange of league places in mid-table.
Undoubtedly,Jets fans will keep a close eye on those games as well as the one at Coffs Harbour, but for the neutral, and two big cities, all eyes will be on AAMI Park on Australia Day as Victory host Sydney FC.
Second host first in what could be a game of huge psychological bearing come finals time, and could possibly determine the destination of the Premiers Plate, even at this early stage.
Will Victory look to play with great pace, flair and dexterity, and width, as is their modus operandi? Or will they choke the life out of the Sky Bluesand swamp themphysically, as they did in the 2015 grand final?
Will Sydney cope either wayand extend their unbeaten run, a marvellous achievement, which I have probably underestimated and undervalued to this point, to 17 games?
A fascinating round in prospect.