To access all of your local news, visit newcastleherald.com.au directly. Our home page is updated with the latest headlines from across the region and the nation.
You can even stay up to date by clicking here and signing up for free to our newsletters.
If you value local journalism, support us by subscribing here
To download the Newcastle Herald app, click here
Well, where do you start? The good, the bad or the embarrassingly inept? That was the week in a nutshell for football fans in this region, and not that rare a scenario to be brutally honest.
I'm going to start with the bad because chronologically it was first cab off the rank. I'm referring of course to revelations about the Jets financial position and long list of creditors who are unlikely to see any of what they're owed.
It's hardly a first for any of the various entities that have represented the area in national football competitions, but the debt is the largest in the long list of failed ventures, even allowing for increases in the cost of every aspect of business and the undoubted drain that COVID has had on income generated.
While we congratulate the players and coaching group for staying focused, we should not forget the creditors affected by the club's financial plight before January 6. Most are fans, as well as partners in business, and the code can ill-afford to turn its back on those whose faith and patience has lead to considerable strain on businesses and livelihoods.
It also sheds light on the departure of Carl Robinson and Kenny Miller. Not just because they were owed wages - that was the worst kept secret - but because the prospect of building and improving the team would in their eyes have had a big shadow cast over it due to lack of resources.
That two people with skin in the game choose to move on surely highlights the difficulty the new management group faces in attracting new owners, sponsors and quality players. That in turn raises questions about long-term viability. A snowball effect.
On the pitch, improved results, clean sheets and growing confidence provides a welcome snowball effect and gives us the good component. The Jets are unbeaten in five games and deserved their win over Melbourne Victory. They seldom looked troubled at AAMI Park and climbed into the top six.
This is not a vintage Victory side by any means but that's not Newcastle's problem. A solid defence provided the foundation for good expansive football and an excellent team goal, finished by Angus Thurgate in his 50th A- League appearance. Three points well deserved.
I'm not sure you could say the same about Adelaide on Friday night, who benefited from three awful penalty awards at the expense of a Mariners team who behaved with remarkable self restraint or showed they are a little too nice to be genuine title contenders. I'm not sure where I sit on that one, but I do know that most successful teams I have watched, or been a part of, would have used overt physicality or psychological pressure to change what was happening on the pitch.
The Mariners got rorted, not deliberately, but by a disastrous string of decisions, VAR protocol breaches, VAR choices that are weighted to favour backing decisions that are hasty or unnecessary through the old "not clear and obvious" bailout option.
Let's just say that if FIFA need a video to highlight how not to use VAR, and circulate it worldwide for a disaster aversion education program, they have the perfect option available now.
The three penalties wouldn't have added up to half a penalty in my eyes. The first was for possible minimal contact on a player whose first touch squirted 10 yards towards the sideline between two other players who both would have reached the ball before the 'awardee'.
The second was for the most minimal jostling for position, a 50-50 call, with no threat to goal. The third was a ricochet from one of three feet to hand, on a plane so vertical that had it not struck an arm it would have sailed over the bar or to the keeper. Little or no intent in any action. No deprivation of a goal-scoring opportunity.
Could you imagine anything more annoying for a player? How about getting sent off after the final whistle for asking why? Or watching remarkably similar incidents adjudicated in completely the opposite way on the following Sunday. Nobody is suggesting it's easy, but we shouldn't accept shambolic.
IN THE NEWS: