New boys on the block: City v Newcastle

Elimination is on the line as Melbourne City FC host Newcastle Jets in the FFA Cup Round of 16 at AAMI Park on Wednesday night but the match will also be the first time many of the City faithful will see some of the new faces in the squad for the first time.

With the departure of Socceroos international and highly talented youngster Daniel Arzani who signed with Manchester City before joining Celtic on-loan, Warren Joyce and his coaching team has injected more young, attacking flare into their squad ahead of the new campaign.

Riley McGree, Lachlan Wales and Michael O’Halloran all joined the ranks in order to bolster City’s attacking third, while midfielder Anthony Caceres returned to the Club for his second stint at the CFA.

McGree is on a one-year loan from Club Brugge in the Belgian First Division and will be looking to replicate the form that saw him excel at Newcastle Jets last season. The youngster came to international attention following his spectacular scorpion kick against Melbourne City last season, which saw the Jets qualify for the 2017-18 Grand Final.

It will be the 19-year-old’s first competitive match against his former side and his first in front of his new home fans. He will be looking to continue his strong start in City blue following an impressive performance in City’s 1-0 win over Brisbane Roar in the FFA Cup Round of 32.

Alongside McGree, Wales also made his competitive debut against Brisbane. The 20-year-old attacker joined City after making 11 senior appearances for Central Coast Mariners.

The youngster combined well with McGree and Bruno Fornaroli in what was a dynamic looking attacking third against the Roar. He will be looking to build on his performance and continue to impress as he works towards earning a spot in Joyce’s preferred starting XI.

The inclusion of the two youngsters has been paired with City adding a wealth of experience to its squad through O’Halloran, Caceres and defensive midfielder Rostyn Griffiths.

Experienced Scottish forward Michael O’Halloran produced an extra-time cameo against the Roar, which showed glimpses of the speed and attacking flare that he’ll bring to the squad. While experienced A-League player Rostyn Griffiths played just over an hour of football where he demonstrated his defensive qualities.

Alongside the new signings, City's crop of young talent will also be given the opportunity to lay their claim to a senior spot this season which makes for an exciting match for everyone involved at the Club. 

The Jets may have signed 13 new players in the 2017/18 off-season, it’s a very different story in the Hunter ahead of the new season.

Ernie Merrick’s 2018-19 squad includes 20 returning players, 10 of which started in their 2017-18 Hyundai A-League Grand Final defeat. 

Despite their long list of returning players, the Jets have signed former Wellington Phoenix player Matthew Ridenton to bolster their midfield.

Ridenton rekindles his relationship with Merrick, who was his manager when he made his A-League debut for the Phoenix in 2013-14 season. The Kiwi international is coming off a strong season with Wellington and will be looking to fill the void left by McGree in the heart of the Jets midfield.

The 22-year-old made his debut for the Jets in their 1-0 win in the Round of 32 against Gold Coast Knights FC.

With a number of fresh faces set to take the field, don’t miss the chance to get down and watch the new boys as they play in front of their home fans for the first time this season. Click here to get your tickets for the match.