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Australian Football: Victory target back-to-back wins

There are two games to wrap up Matchday 16 on Sunday with the Newcastle Jets taking on Melbourne Victory, while Macarthur entertain Wellington Phoenix.

The round has already been exciting and full of goals. Central Coast Mariners won 2-1 at Brisbane Roar on Friday night and then in the early game on Saturday Adelaide United came from 2-0 down to beat Western United in a five-goal thriller. 

There are another two games on Saturday that could both provide plenty more goals and thrills before all the attention turns to Sunday. In the opening game the Jets will be out to boost their top-six hopes with a win over a Victory side that continue to prop up the rest of the A-League.

Another team hoping to play finals is Wellington Phoenix and they travel to take on a Macarthur side that are sliding down the ladder at an alarming rate. Two big games to wrap up the weekend. Let’s take a closer look at all four teams involved.

What:Newcastle Jets v Melbourne Victory
Where:McDonald Jones Stadium
When:15:00 (AEST) Sunday 12th February 2023
How to watch:Paramount+
Odds:Jets 2/1, Draw 11/5, Victory 11/8 

Newcastle’s chances of playing finals football this season have taken a hammering over the last couple of months as they have picked up just one win from six games. Take out the 4-0 drubbing against Brisbane Roar in Matchday 14 and the Jets have struggled to score goals and pick up maximum points.

They are unbeaten in the last four games but three of those have been draws and if they are to book their place in the top six they need to start turning them into wins. Two of the lowest scoring teams in the A-League play each other here and the 0-0 draw can be backed at 10/1 while under 2.5 goals is available at 1/1.

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Three of the Jets' five wins have been on home soil, but so have three of their seven defeats. They remain without Brandon O’Neill and Noah James, but Mark Natta is included in the squad. Victory beat Newcastle 4-0 at the start of the season and they hoped that result would be the first of many wins.

However it has not turned out that way. Indeed they have won just four all season. They can at least take some heart from the fact they beat Wellington Phoenix 3-1 last week. They had to come from behind to get the win and that at least shows there is still plenty of fight in the side and coach Tony Popovic has not lost the dressing room.

Victory have also made a couple of new signings in the hope they can help transform their season. Damien Da Silva and Connor Chapman have both arrived and have been included in the squad to face the Jets. Popovic is also boosted by the news that Chris Ikonomidis returns from suspension.

What:Macarthur v Wellington Phoenix
Where:Campbelltown Sports Stadium
When:17:00 (AEST) Sunday 12th February 2023
How to watch:Paramount+
Odds:Macarthur 15/8, Draw 12/5, Phoenix 29/20

Macarthur have not won in the last four games, losing three of them, to slide down the ladder and leave their finals hopes dangling by a thread.

All is not lost as they are only a couple of points away from the top six, but they need to stop the rot quickly or the chance will be gone. Their confidence could also be shot to bits after suffering a heavy 6-1 defeat against Melbourne City last week so it will be some turnaround to beat the Nix on Sunday.

Discipline has also been an issue with players sent off in each of the last two games. A red card for either side in Sunday’s clash can be backed at 6/1. The Bulls welcome back Daniel De Silva, Kearyn Baccus and Al Hassan Toure to their squad. 

Things had been going very nicely for Wellington Phoenix with three wins and a draw before they suffered a surprise 3-1 defeat against Melbourne Victory last week. Coach Ufuk Talay will be hoping it was just a blip and his side will return to winning ways.

To do that they will need to tighten up at the back having conceded five goals in the last two games. Over 2.5 goals can be backed at 4/6.

The Nix have brought in a new signing in the form of Nikko Boxall and he could make his debut, while Tim Payne returns from suspension. However there is no Kosta Barbarouses who misses out through injury.

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