VOLATILE: Jets coach Gary Van Egmond and Adrian Trinidad of the Glory exchange words after the final whistle of their round 11 A-League match in Perth on November 9, 2008.T
Nanjing Night Net

he Jets should need no reminders of how easy it is to fall victim to an ambush on the other side of the Nullarbor, where the best policy is always to shoot (for goal) first and ask questions later.

In nine previous visits to nib Stadium, home turf for Perth Glory, the Jets have returned victorious just once.

That was on November 25, 2005, when a Vaughan Coveny goal in the 47th minute set up a 1-0 win for the visitors.

It has been all downhill for the Jets since. And invariably there is drama, either on or off the pitch.

Newcastle’s past eight games in the West Australian capital have produced four draws and four defeats – including three consecutive losses.

Indeed, it has been just shy of 6 years since that solitary, first-up victory – a long time between drinks in anyone’s language.

Newcastle’s record in Perth is perhaps not as depressing as in Wellington, where the Jets have lost eight successive games by a combined tally of 23-4.

In comparison, a win and four draws from nine games in Perth – 10 goals for, 14 goals against – seems almost respectable.

But a 2272-day hiatus certainly more than qualifies as a hoodoo.

And if Newcastle are to exorcise those demons on Saturday night, they will have to overcome the Glory’s significant home-ground advantage.

Travelling time is one major factor with which the Jets must contend.

On Thursday afternoon, they will bus it to Sydney, spend the night in a hotel, then board the five-hour flight to Perth on Friday morning.

The hours in transit can take the edge off any team.

Acclimatising to the weather is perhaps not as challenging as it was playing against the now-defunct North Queensland Fury in tropical Townsville.

But temperatures in Perth are tipped to hit 31 degrees on Saturday, which suggests it will be drier and hotter than recent weeks in Newcastle.

Then there is the time difference.

Saturday’s match does not kick off until 7pm local time, or 10pm AEDT.

In effect, the Jets will be playing when many of them are usually in bed, which will test their body clocks.

Newcastle coach Gary van Egmond acknowledged yesterday that the logistics of playing in Perth were always a challenge.

But he said the self-belief his troops had gained from three consecutive wins would stand them in good stead.

‘‘It’s definitely a hard place to go, as the stats show,’’ van Egmond said.

‘‘But we go there with lots of confidence after three good wins, a couple of which were on the road, so the boys are in a buoyant mood and we’re looking forward to the trip.’’

Saturday’s showdown shapes as a crucial one for both teams, as Perth are in fourth place, three points ahead of Newcastle.

The Glory’s for-and-against differential is six goals better than Newcastle’s, which means the Jets would need to win by three goals or more to leapfrog the hosts.

But with six games left in the regular season, Saturday’s fixture could determine which of the two outfits earns a top-four position – and priceless home-team benefits – in the play-offs.

‘‘We know it’s going to be a tough game,’’ van Egmond said.