January has always been a tough month for A-League teams and life only gets harder for the Newcastle Jets who play four of their next five games away from home.
Last night’s loss to Melbourne City was the first of three consecutive away fixtures for the Jets before returning home to play the Central Coast Mariners.
While the Jets walked out of AAMI Park with their heads held high despite the result, an element of confusion and frustration over the fixture remains.
Newcastle fullback Daniel Georgevski believes the club have been hard done by and the fixture needs to be reviewed or else it could impact the quality of football.
“It’s not going to be swept under the rug anymore we’re always on the bad end of the stick,” Georgevski said.
“We have three away games in a row two of which are in Melbourne,
“There needs to be balance regardless of how long the flights are,
“You have to take into account there are players who have never played in this heat,
“It takes a toll and the football cops it because the quality isn’t as good.”
Georgevski’s concerns were shared by head coach Ernie Merrick after his side’s loss to City.
Merrick has called for an explanation as to why teams are scheduled to play consecutive home and away matches as opposed to alternating every week.
“How we can’t play home then away I’ll never understand,” Merrick said.
“If the stadiums aren’t available let’s do what Sydney has done and play out of Jubilee Oval,
“There are plenty of grounds so let’s not be held to ransom,
“I’ve only been saying it for eleven years.”
Merrick had no such frustration for his side’s performance in their loss against Melbourne City, having come a long way since their 3-0 loss to City in December in a showing Merrick described as “insipid.”
The Jets had 18 shots to City’s 10 and despite the result not going their way, Merrick believes the character the team showed was more important than the points.
“It was a tremendous display from our players and it was unfortunate we have no points to show for it,” Merrick said.
“We’ve been playing terrific football and we’re creating great opportunities,
“We’ll definitely be in the finals with the depth we have.”
The Jets return to Melbourne for their next game on Saturday against Melbourne Victory.