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A-League, W-League seasons pushed back but Jets ready

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The Newcastle Jets’ preparations for the 2021/22 A-League and W-League seasons have been dealt a slight blow.

Due to COVID-19 and government health restrictions, the code’s powerbrokers decided on Thursday 23 September to push back both competitions.

The men’s fixtures will now kick-off on 19 November, with the women to follow on 3 December.

Newcastle meets A-League F3 derby rivals Central Coast Mariners at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday 21 November from 4.05pm.

The female Jets soar into action against Sydney FC at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium on Saturday 4 December from 5.05pm.

Despite the minor setback, executive chairman Shane Mattiske remains buoyant.

“Our first game is going to be a great game,” he said.

“We’re being conservative and there is some adjustment.

“But, that adjustment allow us to make sure we can have a very strong start and a start where we’ve got crowds in a stadium.

“Ultimately it’s all about the fans and making sure families can see us play.”

Australian Professional Leagues (APL) released the schedule for the first six rounds of the A-League and opening four of the W-League season on Thursday – based on a conference system.

However, both have been delayed from their respective original planned starts of 30 October and 13 November in a bid to have 100% crowd capacity, as well as manage border restrictions.

A-League champions Melbourne City will open their account against Brisbane Roar at AAMI Park on 19 November while W-League newcomers Wellington Phoenix will host Western Sydney Wanderers to begin that season two weeks later.

NSW-based clubs and Wellington’s teams will play each other while the majority of the other games will be played in Victoria, with the Melbourne organisations, Adelaide United, Perth Glory and Brisbane grouped together.

Western United, who plan to turn soil on their stadium site in Tarneit next month, have added South Melbourne’s Lakeside Stadium to their list of home venues – along with GMHBA Stadium, Mars Stadium and UTAS Stadium.

United will no longer have home games at AAMI Park.

Meanwhile, the venue for Central Coast’s home games – typically held at Gosford’s Central Coast Stadium – is yet to be confirmed.

“This is because a venue hire agreement for Central Coast Stadium is still pending by Central Coast Council and not yet finalised for any of our A-League or next season’s W-League matches at Central Coast Stadium,” the Mariners said in a statement.

As part of the broadcast deal with new partners Network Ten/Paramount Plus, two Saturday night A-League games will kick-off simultaneously each week.

The football season will finish with the men’s grand final scheduled for 28 May.

A-LEAGUE OPENING ROUND

Friday 19 November

  • Melbourne City v Brisbane Roar, AAMI Park, 7.45pm

Saturday 20 November

  • Western Sydney Wanderers v Sydney FC, CommBank Stadium, 7.45pm
  • Western United v Melbourne Victory, GMHBA Stadium, 7.45pm
  • Perth Glory v Adelaide United, HBF Park, 10.05pm

Sunday 21 November

  • Newcastle v Central Coast, McDonald Jones Stadium, 4.05pm
  • Macarthur FC v Wellington, Campbelltown Stadium, 6.05pm

W-LEAGUE OPENING ROUND

Friday 3 December

  • Wellington Phoenix v Western Sydney Wanderers, TBC, 5.05pm
  • Canberra United v Melbourne City, Viking Park, 7.45pm

Saturday 4 December

  • Sydney FC v Newcastle, Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, 5.05pm
  • Perth Glory v Brisbane Roar, TBC, 10.05pm

Sunday 5 December

  • Melbourne Victory v Adelaide United, AAMI Park, 4.05pm
  • with AAP

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