These two sides met in a Grand Final little over a year ago.

Now both the Melbourne Victory and Newcastle Jets face differing prospects heading into the new campaign.

With the Victory boasting some big signings and the recruitment of Marco Kurz as their new manager – the expectations are once again sky-high as they look to bring home another A-League crown.

While the Jets are looking to bounce back into the top six and face a massive hill to climb after the injury to star import Wes Hoolahan only weeks ago.

Melbourne Victory

It was a disappointing end to a campaign full of promise for Victory last season.

With the signings of both Keisuke Honda and Ola Toivonen, it was almost an expectation that the Victory would successfully defend their crown once more.

However, a season riddled by injuries, inconsistency and balance saw the Boys in Blue fall in a dramatic 6-1 semi-final defeat to Sydney FC which saw the end of Kevin Muscat’s tenure.

After numerous senior figures departed the club, Victory had to start from ground zero and have brought in a range of handy signings to compliment the appointment of Marco Kurz from Adelaide United as new head-coach.

Socceroo wingers Andrew Nabbout and Robbie Kruse both return to the side after stints overseas who will flank their new captain, Toivonen.

While fan-favourite Adama Traore also makes his return to squad after time at FC Basel and most recently in Turkey for Goztepe.

These signings have been complimented by the arrivals of former Danish international Jakob Poulsen, German defender Tim Hoogland, Austrian midfielder Kristijan Dobras and Albanian enforcer Migjen Basha to the side.

The side has solid depth around the park with a range of quality players still retained including Lawrence Thomas, Thomas Deng and the aforementioned Toivonen who put the Victory in a good position once more to bring home an A-League crown.

INS: Robbie Kruse (Bochum), Andrew Nabbout (Urawa), Tim Hoogland (Bochum), Jakob Poulsen (Midtjylland), Migjen Basha (Aris Thessaloniki), Kristijan Dobras (Rheindorf Altach), Adama Traore (Goztepe).

OUTS: James Troisi (Adelaide United), Kosta Barbarouses (Sydney FC), Keisuke Honda (released), Carl Valeri (retired), Terry Antonis (Suwon)

Newcastle Jets

After an incredible run to the Grand Final, the Jets crashed back down to Earth.

A season riddled by injuries saw Ernie Merrick’s men fall back out of the top six as they missed the finals by five points.

Once again, the Jets aren’t blessed with the same financial resources as many of their competitors and faced a big hill to climb in order to bridge the gap once more with the best.

The likes of Ronny Vargas, Roy O’Donovan, Daniel Georgievski and Joey Champness have all departed the club which left the Jets board with the tall-task of replacing much of their top end talent.

Matt Millar was brought across from the Mariners after an incredible season while Panama international Adbiel Arroyo joined the club which is a significant addition to their attacking stocks.

However, the injury to new signing Wes Hoolahan has dealt a massive blow to the Jets finals chances after he sustained an ankle injury in pre-season meaning the Novocastrian side are scrambling for a replacement.

The Jets will once again have their backs against the wall and will need to hope the retainment of much of their squad over the past couple seasons can once again see them defy the odds.

INS: Pat Langlois (promoted, youth team), Matt Millar (Central Coast Mariners), Nick Fitzgerald (Western Sydney Wanderers), Abdiel Arroyo (Arabe Unido – loan), Wes Hoolahan (unattached), Bobby Burns (Hearts loan)

OUTS: Roy O’Donovan, Ronald Vargas, Daniel Georgievski, Jair, Nick Cowburn, Jake Adelson, Kwabena Appiah (all released), Ivan Vujica (Western United)

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Nick D’Urbano
nicholas.durbano9@gmail.com