BRIAN SCIARETTA - Friday, November 16, 2012
A struggling Wellington Phoenix will be looking to reverse a five game winless skid in the A-League on Saturday when they visit the Newcastle Jets EnergyAustralia Stadium.
American midfielder Alex Smith has been one of the few bright spots in the early season for Wellington and he will be aiming to help the club reverse its fortunes.
Entering into the season, Wellington were hoping to push for a top four finish but they will need to get back into winning ways after earning just two points from their last five games. Last weekend they played well for long stretches but were unable to convert any scoring chances in a 1-0 loss to the Central Coast Mariners.
The Newcastle Jets are one of the hottest teams in the A-League and have won four out of their last five. That run has seen them rise all the way to third place. They are led by former English international Emile Heskey who left Aston Villa last season to sign with the Jets. Heskey leads the A-League in scoring with five goals.
This game will be the focus of a lot of media attention in Australia and New Zealand because when the two teams met in the preseason, tempers flared and the players engaged in an on-field brawl.
Newcastle will be without Neil Young, Michael Bridges, Jobe Wheelhouse, Brodie Mooy and Jeremy Brockie.
Wellington Phoenix will be missing Tony Lochhead and Oscar Robert Cornejo