Newcastle coach Gary van Egmond believes facing competition heavyweights Melbourne City presents the perfect opportunity for the Jets to give a better account of themselves.
Disappointed after a lacklustre showing in their 4-0 loss to Melbourne Victory in Melbourne last weekend, the Jets are determined to bounce back when they host the competition's second-placed side at No.2 Sportsground on Sunday afternoon.
History has City as the overwhelming favourites to win the battle. In 13 exchanges, Newcastle have never beaten their round-five opponents.
Last week's four-goal blow-out came after the Jets opened their 2023-24 campaign in promising fashion, leaking only two goals in three steely performances.
"We had a look at the stats and there was no doubt we were second-best in a lot of areas, which hasn't been the case in the first three games," van Egmond said.
"We were just not at the races. We were really off.
"It was good from a resilient perspective, that we kept the game to 1-0 at half-time. We kept ourselves in the game, but we just didn't come out and show what we're capable of."
Captain Cassidy Davis should also be back in action after being sidelined with a foot infection last weekend, but striker Melina Ayres looks set to miss another game due to a hip issue.
"The one thing with football is you get the opportunity to come out and make another statement," the Jets coach said.
"I'm really looking for the response from the players this weekend, and no better than playing against a champion side like Melbourne City."
City are unbeaten on 10 points while the Jets, on four points, are caught in a three-way tussle for sixth spot.
An area of concern is Newcastle's strikepower with Ayres and Davis the only players to get on the scoresheet so far with one goal apiece.
"We can't be in a position where it's only Melina who can score," van Egmond said.
"At the moment, Melina has scored a goal, Cass has scored a worldie, and if you're going to rely on that every week, well that's not going to be good enough.
"Your midfield has to chip in with goals. Your wide players have to chip in with goals. You need to chip in with goals from set pieces. These are all the areas that good teams profit from, and score, and at the moment we haven't done that.
"So, it's a good challenge for the group, and for us to show that we're not just relying on individuals to score goals."
City have no shortage of lethal players, including in-form Holly McNamara, who produced a perfect hat-trick - scoring goals with both feet and another off the head - as City beat Western Sydney 4-3 last round.
The Melbourne team also have Rhianna Pollicina and New Zealand international Hannah Wilkinson sparking their attack.
Kick-off is at 4pm.
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