A-League: Five things we learned from the Jets' win over the Roar

TIME TO STRIKE: Roy O'Donovan is still searching for rhythm after a long lay off. Picture: AAP
TIME TO STRIKE: Roy O'Donovan is still searching for rhythm after a long lay off. Picture: AAP

FINALS FEVER

The Jets will feature in the post-season for the first time in eight years. Rather than an end-of-season trip, the Jets will spend late April fighting for their first title since 2008. The win over Roar opened a 19-point gap to seventh with six rounds (18 points) remaining. Another two wins will secure a home semi final. Three wins and a draw will seal second and an Asian Champions League berth. They have amassed 12 wins, just four losses, 41 points, 44 goals and 28 assists and have a goal difference of plus 20.

SUPER SUBS

The strength of a squad is usually shown in its bench. The Jets have talent to burn. Silken-skilled Joey Champness, a finalist for the A-League young player of the year, scored the match-winner off the pine. When you consider Ronny Vargas, Pato Rodriguez and Ben Kantarovski are to come back, Ernie Merrick will have an arsenal of game-changers at his disposal.

RECOVERY TIME

This week will be as much about recovery as devising tactics for the blockbuster against Sydney FC. The clash against the Roar was played in energy-sapping conditions, with the temperature at kick-off 27 degrees and humidity at 74 %. Jets’ aerobic machines Steve Ugarkovic, Jason Hoffman, Riley McGree and Dimi Petratos all suffered cramp.

LUCK OF THE IRISH

Roy O’Dovonan is in desperate need of a goal. The Irishman has played three games back after missing 10 weeks with a torn groin and is yet to find his mojo. A predator in the box, the striker missed a couple of chances he would have swallowed earlier in the campaign. He scored six goals in the opening five rounds and the Jets need him firing in the finals.

LIFE OF RILEY

Rile McGree is a genuine starter. The teenager was sensational against the Roar. It was his first 90-minute-shift in months and he was still running hard at the final whistle. He is strong on the ball, can beat players on the inside or outside and his link-up work is superb. With Pato Rodriguez out until the finals and Ronny Vargas still to return, McGree will get a run of games. I doubt you will see him on the bench again.