COVID curveball hit Jets before Roar draw

·2-min read

Newcastle's preparations ahead of their A-League goalless draw with Brisbane were disrupted by Victoria's snap COVID lockdown.

The Victorian government's decision to place the entire state in lockdown for five days on Friday meant dynamic fullback Matt Millar had to go into mandatory self-isolation after having been in Melbourne during the week to attend a funeral.

The decision meant Newcastle travelled to Queensland without Millar, who'd been set for his first appearance of the season in Sunday's clash having cleared quarantine following a loan spell in England.

With right-back Jason Hoffman (groin) already injured, Millar's absence was a frustration for Jets coach Craig Deans.

The Jets also had to rule out Olyroos midfielder Ramy Najjarine (ankle) after he failed a late fitness test but the 0-0 draw with the Roar means the club's unbeaten run has been stretched to four matches.

"We brought him (Najjarine) up here but he just pulled up a bit sore this morning and I said it last week about him, at this stage of the season we're in, it's not worth the risk," Deans said.

"Matty Miller had to go into quarantine for COVID ... we lost him, the day before, so it's three important players for us.

"A good performance to deal with things like that "

Deans is hopeful all three will be available for Sunday's match against Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park, a game that remains in doubt due to Victoria's COVID situation.

The Jets' boss plans to prepare as though the match will go ahead as scheduled.

"It's been over a year now where dealing with that has sort of just become normal life," he said.

"You just get up and clean your hands, you do your QR codes, you do everything and you wait.

"We don't have a draw beyond February at the moment, so it's a day-to-day proposition.

"You plan on the run and it's the same for everyone so there's no excuses but it's frustrating at times."