After going down 2-0 to the Sky Blues in front of their home fans last week, the Jets are looking to bounce back against the Bulls on Sunday afternoon. Despite an even competition, Newcastle will need a win to keep themselves in touch with the top four.
Their loss to Sydney came in a scrappy game where neither side had many opportunities, the visitors simply managed to finish in the important moments. They easily cut up Newcastle on the counterattack and managed to capitalise on the Jets’ defensive slump, scoring twice in four minutes.
On his return from MCL troubles, Brandon O’Neill was taken down by a careless tackle from Sydney’s Rhyan Grant in the dying seconds of stoppage time. The Jets co-captain was in tears post-game and was clearly distressed.
Fortunately, he was back at training on Tuesday and participated in most of the main drills. Newcastle Midfielder Kosta Grozos says he’s an integral member of the team.
“He [O’Neill] gives us everything you expect from that kind of guy,” Grozos told media after training on Tuesday.
“His captaincy, his leadership, the way he talks. Even just the way he plays, he’s so energetic it just brings the rest of the boys up.
“Just knowing his game, he holds that midfield so well I know I can depend on him when he’s out there.”
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Grozos started just his third game for the season against Sydney and took time building into the match. Like most of the Newcastle squad, he struggled to break down the Sky Blues’ strong defensive line despite working tirelessly.
His game against Adelaide earlier in the week was his best for the season, earning his first assist of 2023. He’s set himself a goal to have his name more involved in the scorebook throughout the rest of the campaign.
“I always knew I had the ability,” he said.
“I’ve just been waiting for it to come off and I’m happy it did. I’m happy Jaush got the goal too and most importantly the team got the win.
“I want to get my goals and assists up over the rest of the season, I’ve only had one so far. So if I can get that up and help Beka [Mikeltadze] get some more goals then it’ll be good.”
Macarthur will be looking to come out swinging after being thrashed 4-0 by the Wanderers last weekend. A win for the Bulls would most likely send them into the top four and in a strong position for the run home.
It’s hard to see the Bulls have another flat game and not find the back of the net, Grozos admits they’ve got a big job ahead of them.
“[Macarthur] have a lot of attacking players in their front third that just want to score goals,” he said.
“We just need to stay tight on them and limit their space. Hopefully we’ll be able to do out job up front as well.”
Teammate Jaushua Sotirio agrees that it’s going to be a big test for the Jets, but insists they’re ready for the ‘must-win’ game.
“I feel like this is a game where we can go on a roll,” Sotirio said.
“We can continue winning games, we’ve got Western United the week after. They’re at the bottom at the moment but we cant underestimate them.
“I feel like if we get this win now, we can get a run of two, three or even four going forward.”
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