THEY will ultimately be judged after the last ball is kicked in the A-League season, but in the meantime the Newcastle Jets will continue racking up club records.
Newcastle’s relentless pursuit of their first finals berth in eight years – and a possible top-two finish – continued on Saturday when they outgunned fourth-placed Melbourne Victory 2-0 at McDonald Jones Stadium.
That took the Jets into uncharted territory on 37 competition points and 11 wins – both the best they have managed in the preliminary rounds – with eight games still to play.
A week earlier, in the 2-all draw with Melbourne City, they broke the club record for most goals in a regular season, a tally they increased on Saturday to 41.
Newcastle skipper Nigel Boogaard and substitute Riley McGree became their 12th and 13th players respectively to score this season, which is another club record.
In addition, the Jets have found the net in 19 consecutive games, which again is an unprecedented statistic for the reborn franchise.
Saturday’s win lifted second-placed Newcastle nine points clear of fourth-placed Adelaide.
Barring an inexplicable late-season collapse, they appear certain to qualify for at least one home final, for the first time since their premiership-winning campaign of 2007-08.
It has been a remarkable renaissance since last season, when the Jets lost their last six matches by a combined scoreline of 19-1 to collect the wooden spoon.
And with marquee signing Ronny Vargas tipped to return within weeks from the broken ankle he sustained in round three, Newcastle’s firepower should only increase as the business end of the season approaches.
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“To have the quality of attacking players we’ve got is a really good problem to have,” Jets coach Ernie Merrick said.
If Newcastle’s attacking prowess has earned rave reviews this season, Merrick was equally delighted with keeping the Victory scoreless, hailing centre backs Boogaard and Nikolai Topor-Stanley.
“I thought the two of them were immense, defensively,” he said.
“Nigel and Nikolai are among the best combinations in the league.”
Merrick described Newcastle’s win against Victory as “a bit of a rehearsal” for the finals.
Fans are daring to dream the script might yet have a fairytale ending.