After three straight losses maintaining optimism about the Newcastle Jets finals form was tough – even for someone like myself who pretty much permanently wears rose-coloured glasses.
But fans are fans, in fair weather or foul, so my friends and I trekked down the freeway for the F3 Darby to cheer on the Newcastle Jets when they faced long-time foes and rivals the Central Coast Mariners. And oh, it was worth it!
When the boys came out on the pitch they ran straight over to the away bay, absolutely packed with Newcastle supporters, raising their arms to rev up the fans and to show their support. It felt different. It felt good. It felt like the boys were back in town. And they were.
We were at an away pitch, but it didn’t stop the Jets supporter from singing our anthem “Never Tear Us Apart” at the top of our lungs. The supporters were in full voice, and the Jets were desperate for goals and a win.
Eight goals. Eight goals to two. I can barely describe just how it felt. It felt greedy, but soooooo good. Like a 3am kebab, a resounding win after three losses feels damned fine.
My new favourite player Riley McGree scored a hat trick easing three balls into the back of the net. This 19-year-old plays well beyond his years, with a maturity and depth of skill that makes me want to beg: ‘Please, can we keep him?” Currently on-loan to our team from Club Brugge, he’s quite the addition. (Can we keep him?)
The best thing about this match was that all the players on the pitch were back in form: Roy got back on the scoresheet with two crackers, and Dimi found fine form (even though his celebration earned him a yellow card – what the?). Lachy’s goal was our fifth, and it was a beauty, while Joey Champness showed why he’s a firm fan favourite. Hoffy tried SO HARD to score that you could just feel the desperation. But surely nine goals would be way too excessive… (nah, I’d take it)
Not only was it an absolute ripper of a night, we also broke a few A-League records – for most goals scored by an away team and the 10 goal total is the highest-scoring match in A-League history.
The team played brilliantly, and, once again, I’d like to give a shout-out to our super-coach Ernie Merrick who’s steadily steered the team through injury and upset through to finals. But do you know who the real star of the season is? Our CEO Lawrie McKenna. No corporate box for this bloke, he came and sat in the away bay with the fans for the match – which exemplifies his tenure at our club. Man of the people indeed.
What a goddamn treasure.
So now, it’s the semis. We’ve got a home town semi final match on Friday April 27 and I want to see EVERY SEAT TAKEN. Members tix go on sale Monday 16 April, Football Family Australia tix on Monday April 23 and general tickets from Tuesday 24. Details here.
Gates open at 6.30pm and the kick-off is at 7.50pm. Let’s see our team do Newy proud!