Three conclusions as Newcastle snap losing streak against Wellington
The Newcastle Jets have claimed their first win of the season, stunning the Wellington Phoenix and snapping a four-game losing streak in the process.
Below are our three key conclusions from the 2-1 win.
We'll start with VAR
Yep, we'll start with the big talking point just ten minutes into this one.
Tomer Hemed had a penalty appeal turned down for a perceived clip by Nigel Boogaard, just as he was about to shoot.
Boogaard and Hemed were involved in contentious decision early on.
Initially, I thought this call was correct because Hemed initiated the contact and Boogaard had nowhere else to go.
But when you think of it, that is the point.
Hemed should be rewarded for getting through one-on-one, and Boogaard is just unlucky to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The other argument for a penalty is that if the centre back isn't there, Hemed probably scores.
I haven't decided either way on this one, send it over to IFAB for a review.
Yuel strikes again
Valentino Yuel was virtually an unknown before the start of this season.
However, right now, he might be a contender for the golden boot.
There's still a long way to go in 2021, but right now everything the 26-year-old touches turn to goals.
He showed off his aerial prowess during the week against Brisbane, before highlighting what his game is all about today.
Pure pace, power, and a devastating finish from Yuel put the Jets ahead in the first half, his third goal in as many games.
Yuel tucks away his third goal in three games for the Jets.
I think his rapid development also speaks volumes of the influence NPL football still has on player development in the current climate.
Yuel only had his first taste of A-League football last season, when he joined Western United at a more experienced age of 25.
But many years of experience with several clubs in South Australia's NPL competition has made him a ready-made top-flight striker.
Craig Deans should be praised for changing the forward's role slightly too, as by moving him upfront with Roy O'Donovan he is now closer to the goal, in a position that suits him more.
Deans takes inspiration from 2017-18?
I'm not sure if anyone else got this vibe, but watching Newcastle tonight was reminiscent of their success under Ernie Merrick in the 2017-18 season.
In all their matches before this one, they have arguably been the better side, on the front foot and having the majority of possession.
Either by choice or Wellington's style, the Jets sat back more today, and both goals came through devastating counter-attacks.
That's where the similarities to Merrick's side from three years ago come to mind.
They had a front three that was amongst the league's best and could produce moments of quality in any given moment.
Their attack was paired with a staunch defence that rarely looked troubled.
This Newcastle side is far from that, although today showed that there are similarities.
O'Donovan, Yuel and Ramy Najjarine can be that exciting trio, whilst Steven Ugarkovic and Angus Thurgate sat in and protected an organised and stubborn back five.
Deans might look at tonight as a blueprint for the future.
It might not have been their best performance so far, but a change in style did produce their best result.