Football fans in the Hunter didn’t have a great deal to cheer about this season when it came to the Newcastle Knights but will it be the same story when it comes to the Jets as well?
Looking back at last season Newcastle secured eight wins, 10 draws and nine losses but clearly had the worst attack of any team in the competition. They averaged a little over a goal a game.
They will head into this game with new coach Mark Jones in charge. A local boy, he is being charged to rally the troops but he definitely has the task in front of him as he works with a squad put together by his predecessor, Scott Miller.
In terms of recruits there are some new faces including former Melbourne Victory frontman Andrew Nabbout who is likely to provide some much needed spark upfront.
Although they haven’t had a smooth offseason with the sacking of Miller and Luciano Trani, the Jets appear to be a far more stable proposition heading into this match than the defending premiers.
Adelaide’s Grand Final-winning squad has been picked apart and won’t look anything like the side that put together a remarkable run to go all the way and claim their first A-league title.
Gone are the two ‘Bruces’ – Kamau and Djite – along with a host of others but on the flip side they welcome former Barcelona product Sergi Guardiola along with Socceroo James Holland.
EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED
If Newcastle can click under Jones and make a quick start then it might be curtains for Adelaide very early on.
The Reds had a terrible start last campaign and barely got out of their own way and went winless in their first eight rounds. After that they finally came together under coach Amor and went on a fantastic run to win the premiership.
With so many key departures another slow start to the season may be on the cards again.
TIP: We are going for a Draw here as there are plenty of variables when considering both sides a winning possibility. With plenty of disruption thrown into the mix, the logical choice heading into their first game would be to back them sharing the points.
TOTAL GOALS OVER/UNDER: Tipping the unders here as we don’t expect to see the scorers being troubled too much.
FIRST GOALSCORER: If you do fancy a bet in this market then have something on Guardiola (Adelaide) or Nabbout (Newcastle).