THEY have the worst overall home-ground record of any current A-League team, yet the Newcastle Jets are rapidly restoring the advantage they should enjoy at McDonald Jones Stadium.
In 161 games at Turton Road since the A-League’s foundation season, Newcastle have posted 63 wins.
That gives them a winning strike rate of 39.1 per cent, the lowest in the 10-team competition.
Meanwhile their losing percentage at home (36.02) is the highest.
The embarrassing statistics largely explain why Newcastle have failed to qualify for the finals for seven consecutive seasons.
But under new coach Ernie Merrick, the Jets have wasted no time in embarking on some much-needed home improvements.
In nine games on their own turf, Newcastle have racked up six wins, two draws and just one loss.
Their past four home games have all been wins, and if they beat Wellington Phoenix on Saturday they will set a new club record for successive victories in Newcastle.
All of which augurs well for a team who are flying high in second spot and on track to host at least one play-off.
“It’s about making this place a fortress,” Jets forward Andrew Nabbout said before training on Friday.
“We want teams to be scared to come here.
“With the crowds that we’ve had here the last couple of weeks, breaking that 12,000 barrier, it’s unbelievable for us and gives us a huge boost. Hopefully those crowds only keep increasing and it becomes even tougher for teams to come here.”
Newcastle are averaging 10,263 spectators to each home game this season, an increase of seven per cent on last season (9579).
Jets officials will again offer a promotion whereby children under-16 are admitted free with full-paying adults, a deal accessible via the club’s website.
Meanwhile, Nabbout said Newcastle would not be underestimating last-placed Wellington, who have produced a win and a draw in their past two games and are rated by Merrick as finals dark horses.
"They've got a good front four - they've got [Michael] McGlinchey, [Roy] Krishna and [Andrija] Kaludjerovic as it is, and now add [Nathan] Burns to it," Nabbout said.
"It's going to be a good challenge for our back four but I think we'll do well.
“Our centre-backs are playing unbelievable and so are our fullbacks. It's just another chance to prove that it doesn't matter who comes up against us, we're ready."
The Jets are tipped to rush into their squad Joe Champness, who has returned from Australian under-23s duty in China, although his Olyroos teammates Nick Cowburn and Riley McGree are expected to be rested.
Argentine winger Pato Rodriguez is also likely to play after recovering from an ankle injury he suffered in a reckless challenge from Brisbane’s Jacob Pepper last week.
“He’s ready,” Nabbout said. “He wants to play, as you can imagine … we’re going to try and maximise him.”
Team ;Win Ratio ;Loss Ratio
VICTORY ;54.6% ;19.7%
SYDNEY ;51.5% ;24.3%
BRISBANE ;50.3% ;29.2%
PERTH ;46.8% ;28.4%
ADELAIDE ;46.8% ;30.1%
MELB CITY ;45.3% ;29.2%
MARINERS ;43.7% ;33.5%
WANDERERS ;43.6% ;26.9%
PHOENIX ;42.6% ;30.7%
JETS ;39.1% ;36.02
D 2-2 v Perth
D 1-1 v Wanderers
W 3-0 v Phoenix
W 4-1 v Victory
L 2-1 v Melb City
W 2-1 v Adelaide
W 4-0 v Wanderers
W 2-0 v Mariners
W 1-0 v Brisbane
6 wins, 2 draws 1 loss.
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