FOR the second consecutive week, the Newcastle Jets head into enemy territory intent on playing the role of party crashers.
Six days ago, Newcastle had designs on delaying Perth's plans to collect the Premiers' Plate but were unsuccessful, returning across the Nullabor after a 1-0 loss.
At Suncorp Stadium on Saturday, they will be hoping to rain on the farewell parade of Brisbane skipper Matt McKay, who will make his last appearance on home turf after announcing he is retiring at season's end.
McKay, 36, has played in a club-record 270 A-League games for Brisbane, including two grand final victories.
Only seven players - Andrew Durante, Nikolai Topor-Stanley, Leigh Broxham, Eugene Galekovic, Danny Vukovic, Liam Reddy and Tarek Elrich - have made more appearances in the A-League.
McKay also played 59 times for the Socceroos, captaining his country in 2012 and appearing at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
"I'll miss just being involved in the change room, having teammates, talking in the morning," the diminutive midfielder said. "Just being around the team and swapping stories ... the day-to-day will be what I miss the most and that pressure of playing in front of a crowd."
McKay was hopeful of a strong turnout on Saturday.
"It's a tremendous stadium, especially when we fill it out," he said. "I'd love our team to be back there and me be in the crowd to watch them win more titles ... when it's full it's immense."
Meanwhile, Jets defender Johnny Koutroumbis hopes to finish an emotional season on a high note in Newcastle's remaining games, against Brisbane and Sydney (home).
Koutroumbis was rocked in the pre-season when he was diagnosed with stage-one thyroid cancer, which left him worrying if his football career was over.
After surgery to remove his thyroid gland, he returned to action in round 12 and showed sufficient form to earn selection in Graham Arnold's Olyroos squad, helping Australia's under-23s through the first round of qualifying for Tokyo 2020.
He also signed a new three-year deal with the Jets in January.
"Reflecting back on that, it's been a roller-coaster of emotions this season," Koutroumbis said.
"Being out for so long, thinking that I wouldn't return, but I just tried my real best to get back out there.
"Ever since then, it's been all uphill. Being called into the Olyroos, and playing regularly [for the Jets].
"Unfortunately the season hasn't gone our way, but on a personal side, it's been on a high lately."
Newcastle will be without South American imports Ronny Vargas and Jair, who have both been rested.
The Roar will miss Frenchman Eric Bautheac and former Jet Jacob Pepper, both of whom are suspended.
* Sydney FC appear to have locked up second spot in the play-offs after a 1-0 victory over a depleted Perth at Kogarah on Thursday night.