ALM Match Preview: Western United vs Newcastle Jets

Daniel Penha Western United

Western United returns to Melbourne in the Isuzu UTE A-League Men for its third and final clash of the season against Newcastle Jets.

Match Details

Isuzu UTE A-League Men Round 17

Western United vs Newcastle Jets

Friday, 17 February

Kick-off: 7:45pm AEDT

AAMI Park, Melbourne

Broadcast: The match will be broadcast live on Paramount+

Western United Team News

John Aloisi has welcomed both of his vice-captains back into the extended squad with Tomoki Imai and Steven Lustica set to return to the pitch.

Imai missed last week’s game due to illness while Lustica has been absent for two matches with a minor hamstring injury.

Western United Academy attacker Luke Vickery is included in an Isuzu UTE A-League extended squad for the first time having been frequently involved in first team training during the season.

The 18-year-old could become the eighth player to make his senior debut this season from the Academy after Charbel Shamoon became the seventh last week. The right-back impressed in his half-hour cameo and will be eager to feature again.

Western United squad: 1. Tom HEWARD-BELLE (gk), 4. James DONACHIE, 6. Tomoki IMAI, 7. Ramy NAJJARINE, 8. Lachie WALES, 9. Michael RUHS, 11. Daniel PENHA, 13. Nikita RUKAVYTSYA, 17. Ben GARUCCIO, 19. Josh RISDON, 21. Sebastian PASQUALI, 22. Kane VIDMAR, 29. Charbel SHAMOON, 32. Angus THURGATE, 33. Matt SUTTON (gk), 36. Zach LISOLAJSKI, 38. Noah BOTIC, 39. Matthew GRIMALDI, 42. Rhys BOZINOVSKI, 44. Jordan LAUTON

Full Western United squad

Last time out

Western United couldn’t come away with a result against the league leaders Wellington Phoenix last time out, falling 2-0 away from home.

Despite some positive play throughout the contest, an early goal in each half for the Phoenix consigned the Green and Black to a road defeat.

Previous Meetings

The head-to-head record is dead even between Western United and Newcastle Jets with four wins apiece and three draws across the 11 previous meetings.

The Jets have the upper hand in recent contests, though, with two wins so far this season to end what was a six-game unbeaten streak for United against Newcastle.

Key Matchup: James Donachie vs Apostolos Stamatelopoulos

The key battle in this contest could come in United’s defensive third with former Green and Black striker Apostolos Stamatelopoulos in red hot form with the Jets.

The Jets frontman leads the golden boot standings alongside Bruno Fornaroli and United’s defence will need to be at its most alert to thwart his advances.

James Donachie made his Isuzu UTE A-League debut for Western United last week and will line up in Green and Black in front of a home audience for the first time on Friday.

The centre-back will continue to build on his fitness and match sharpness in the coming weeks, but his quality and experience will come to the fore immediately as United seeks to tighten things up defensively.

Donachie will be determined to put his best foot forward against one of the league’s most in-form attackers and if he can keep Stamatelopoulos at bay, he could set United up to win the game at the other end of the pitch.

Western United Player to Watch: Charbel Shamoon

The Western United Academy has produced a number of contributors to the first team in recent weeks, with Shamoon becoming the latest in last week’s defeat in Wellington.

Coming on at right-back, Shamoon saw plenty of the ball and was positive every time he got it, looking to play forward and link up with his teammates in the final third.

Shamoon’s technical ability has been eye-catching ever since he arrived at the Academy in 2022 and was proven on the professional stage last week.

Alongside his prowess with the ball, Shamoon exhibited an impressive sharpness off it with one particularly excellent recovery challenge as Wellington nearly broke into the box.

With Ben Garuccio and Connor O’Toole remaining on the sidelines, Shamoon will be eager for another opportunity to feature, this time in front of a home crowd at AAMI Park.

Words from John Aloisi

On what the week’s news about the Club’s home in Tarneit has meant to the group

“It’s given us a massive lift. It will be huge. We know we’ve had to go to different places in this five year.

“To have your home, then you’re trying to build the club where we have the people that we represent, and that’s out West. The players are excited because it’s our home.

“It’s given everyone a boost and a lift, not only for this season but for the seasons ahead.”

On the approach for the remainder of the season and the continued determination in the team

“We just want to win every game that we play in. If you’ve watched our games, you’ll see that we haven’t given up in any game, we’re going and fighting for everything.

“We want to win, we want to improve our players as a group and invididuals. We’ve got a lot of young players so they’ll be better for this experience.”