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Adelaide loss a real spark for ALM’s Jets

Facing the prospect of a fourth straight A-League Men’s campaign without finals after a 2-1 loss to Adelaide in mid-March, a heart-to-heart between Newcastle’s players led to a vow to leave nothing behind in a push for the top six.

The Jets’ new-found resolve has paid instant dividends, with two wins and draw in the three matches since taking Arthur Papas’ team within three points of the finals positions with eight games to play.

That run included a 2-0 win over Sydney FC despite five players being absent due to a COVID-19 outbreak and a goalless draw in Perth on Wednesday.

“After that Adelaide game we spoke and we sort of said every game is a cup final for us now,” captain Matthew Jurman said.

“We’re trying to get maximum points every game.

“It was a bit disappointing not to take the full three points in Perth, because I think we deserved it, but it wasn’t to be.

“We just need to forget about that now and focus on the game on Sunday, which is another big game for us.”

The Jets’ form reversal has also included what had been at one point in the season the worst defence in the competition keeping three straight clean sheets.

A fourth game without conceding against Brisbane on Sunday at Moreton Daily Stadium would be a club record.

“We pride ourselves on clean sheets and also being able to score at the other end,” Jurman said.

“It hasn’t gone to plan some games for us but we work hard and the last three games has been good to finally get what we’ve worked hard for.

“We’ve taken seven points from from from nine so it’s been good but we just want to keep building on it and keep the results coming. We’re not anywhere near where we want to be.”

Newcastle will face the second-last Roar without Brazilian playmaker Daniel Penha, who is suspended after being sent off against the Glory.

Approaching their fourth straight match at home, Brisbane are desperate for a win after losses to Melbourne City, Western United and Wellington at Moreton Daily Stadium in the past fortnight.

The Roar will have goalkeeper Jordan Holmes back after he missed Wednesday’s 3-0 loss to the Phoenix through suspension while young midfielder Rahmat Akbari has returned following his international duties with Afghanistan in Turkey.

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