MARQUEE midfielder Ronny Vargas has been spared from returning to the scene of the worst memory of his career after being omitted from Newcastle's clash with Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.
Vargas, off contract at the end of this season, was not named in Newcastle's preliminary 18-man squad, two of whom will drop out before Newcastle fly north.
The only other time he played at Suncorp, in round three last season, the Venezuelan suffered a horrendous dislocated and broken ankle that sidelined him for five months.
Jets coach Ernie Merrick said Vargas was one of several players "being given a break", but all would be considered for Newcastle's final game of the season, at home to Sydney on Saturday week.
Merrick said after last week's 1-0 loss to Perth Glory - which officially ended any chance Newcastle had of sneaking into the finals - that he would use their remaining two games to "blood" some promising youngsters.
He has recalled mid-season recruit Kwabena Appiah and promoted youth-team players Jack Simmons and Pat Langlois for the clash with Brisbane.
Appiah, 26, has played in 80 A-League games but only one since joining Newcastle six weeks ago.
Simmons and Langlois are both teenagers and yet to make their A-League debuts.
Vargas was a second-half substitute against Perth, having missed Newcastle's previous game, against Western Sydney, with an ankle injury.
Brazilian winger Jair has also been omitted and will miss his third successive game.
It remains to be seen if Newcastle retain either of the South Americans, although they have been negotiating with Irish target man Roy O'Donovan about extending his stay.
O'Donovan could have a new strike partner on Sunday in Olyroos representative Angus Thurgate, who has not played since scoring the winning goal against Wanderers two weeks ago.
The 19-year-old from Port Macquarie has made 14 appearances for the Jets, but just once in the run-on XI.
He said Merrick had "hinted" that he would be deployed in the starting line-up against Brisbane.
"I'm ready ... I'm just willing to do whatever I can for the team," Thurgate said.
Thurgate intends to use the last two games this season as a launchpad towards establishing himself as a first-team regular.
"I guess that's the goal ... having a strong pre-season and leading into the season, and trying to get as much game time as possible," Thurgate said.
Newcastle have a remarkable record of 12 wins from 19 games at Suncorp.