POLL: Help pick new Jets away colours

FOR the first time Newcastle Jets members will choose which kit the team take on the road in the next A-League season.
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Jets members will receive an email from the club today at 9am with three designs to choose from for the team’s away kit. The club gave the Herald an early peek at the three shirts yesterday.

Voting is open to members only and closes at noon on May17.

The choice is between taking the Jets back to Newcastle’s football roots in the city’s traditional colours of emerald green and cinnamon brown; a white design with panels of red and blue; or a bold charcoal kit inspired by the mining industry.

The new design will replace the black and white striped away shirt, which was inspired by the traditional colours of Northern NSW Football representative teams. The red and blue striped home kit will stay for next season.

‘‘It’s fair to have the three there and not have us make the decision, but to let the fans make the decision,’’ Jets CEO Robbie Middleby told the Herald.

Hunter Sports Group copped criticism from some quarters when it announced in February 2011 that it was abandoning the Jets’ gold colours of the Con Constantine era in favour of the red and blue of the Knights, who are also owned by Nathan Tinkler.

Middleby said lessons had been from that experience.

‘‘We always want input from the fans, and we’re happy to have it,’’ he said. ‘‘This sort of thing is great for the fans and the members to have an input.’’

Asked if the gold worn by the Jets in their 2007-08 championship season was considered, Middleby said: ‘‘We mentioned it, but we thought of some colours we haven’t had.

‘‘Potentially we might look at that in the future, but at the moment we thought to have three options and they were the three options we thought of.’’

WHITE, GREY, GREEN: Which one should the Jets wear for their away strip next season?

Farina backs Vidosic as right-hand man

Rado Vidosic is poised to land a plum job as Frank Farina’s assistant at Sydney FC despite having been dumped as Brisbane Roar coach just two months into the last A-League season.
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Officially, Vidosic wasn’t sacked but moved into a role as technical director. However, his influence on club operations was minimal. His interim replacement, Mike Mulvey, was soon made full-time coach and outlined a broader strategy to rebuild the club’s squad, effectively leaving Vidosic on the outer.

Fairfax Media understands Vidosic has agreed to move to the Sky Blues as Farina’s No.2. But Sydney chief executive Tony Pignata said on Wednesday the deal wasn’t done. ”We’ve just been in discussions so far and no decision has been made yet by Rado or ourselves. We’ve just had informal chats – both myself and Frank – with Rado,” Pignata said. ”Frank is on holiday until the end of May, so we’re not going to make any decisions until the players and coaches are back at training. However, at the moment, Rado is the only candidate we’ve spoken to.”

Vidosic was a long-time assistant at the Roar, dating from the first season of the A-League, when he stood alongside Miron Bleiberg and then Farina. ”Rado and Frank have had a good working relationship in the past, and ultimately it’s up to him to bring in who he feels comfortable working with,” Pignata said.

Despite struggling to adapt to the top job at the Roar, Vidosic was widely hailed for his tactical work under Ange Postecoglou when Brisbane won back-to-back championships. ”Rado is very analytical. You could call him the brain behind our success,” midfielder Thomas Broich said after Postecoglou’s departure.

Melbourne Heart coach John Aloisi was also keen to land Vidosic and, until last week, the club was confident it could get its man.

On field, the Sky Blues aren’t in any rush to add new players.

”We’re just going to take our time and, at least while Frank’s away, we won’t be making more signings after getting Matt Jurman on board last week,” Pignata said. ”We’d like to announce the next batch of signings in early June. We’ve got to fill some under-20 spots, and we probably need to look at those first.”

Pignata said an offer from Parma had been accepted by the Sky Blues for Terry Antonis but the Italian club had fallen silent in recent weeks. ”I’m not sure what’s going on with Terry Antonis … whether he’s going or staying. I haven’t signed anything,” he said. ”Parma have made an offer but I haven’t spoken to them since.”

While Tiago Calvano and Yairo Yau have returned to Brazil and Panama respectively, Pignata said the pair could be offered new contracts. ”We’ve had discussions but we’re keen to see what else is out there,” he said. ”We want to keep our options open.”

Pignata said he ”hadn’t spoken to Lucas Neill since he left the club” and admitted it was unlikely Neill would rejoin.

More likely to return is Nicky Carle, who has spent the past year on loan with UAE club Baniyas. ”Hopefully that will be finalised in the next few weeks,” Pignata said.

Meanwhile, Western Sydney have announced the resigning of attacking midfielder Tahj Minniecon on a one-year contract.

Kings v Highlanders

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth, Sunday 1.05am (AEST)Last meeting:  First clashReferee: Jason Jaftha (RSA)TV: Live, FoxSports 2TAB Sportsbet: Kings $3.75 Highlanders $1.25
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Steve Samuelson writes: Contrasting fortunes for both teams in round 12 with the Highlanders notching their first win while the Kings conceded 11 tries to the Tahs. The Kings have recalled skipper Luke Watson but are missing gun winger Sergeal Petersen (hamstring).

AAP writes: This match could very well decide the wooden spoon, with the last-placed Highlanders now just a point adrift of the Kings. It was a contrast of emotions for these two teams last week. The Highlanders were full of joy after breaking through for their first win of the season, a 25-22 victory over the Sharks. It was pure misery for the Kings who conceded 11 tries to the Waratahs on the way to a 72-10 defeat.

The Kings will be without injured loose forward Jacques Engelbrecht and winger Sergeal Petersen, but skipper Luke Watson returns to bolster the back row. The Highlanders will be banking on another strong performance from star trio Aaron Smith, Colin Slade and Ben Smith.

KINGS: George Whitehead, Marcello Sampson, Ronnie Cooke, Andries Strauss, Siyanda Grey, Demetri Catrakilis, Shaun Venter, Cornell du Preez, Luke Watson (capt), Wimpie van der Walt, David Bulbring, Steven Sykes, Kevin Buys, Bandise Maku, Schalk Ferreira. Reserves: Virgile Lacombe, Grant Kemp, Daniel Adongo, Devin Oosthuizen, Nicolas Vergallo, Shane Gates, SP Marais

HIGHLANDERS: Ben Smith, Tino Nemani, Tamati Ellison, Shaun Treeby, Hosea Gear, Colin Slade, Aaron Smith, TJ Ioane, John Hardie, Jarrad Hoeata, Josh Bekhuis, Brad Thorn, Chris King, Andrew Hore (capt), Tony Woodcock. Reserves: Liam Coltman, Maafu Fia, Mose Tuialii, Joe Wheeler, Fumiaki Tanaka, Hayden Parker, Jason Emery.

Waratahs v Stormers

Allianz Stadium, Sydney, Saturday 7.40pm (AEST)Last meeting: Round 13 2012 – Stormers 19 bt Waratahs 13 at Newlands Rugby StadiumHead-to-head: Played 16 Waratahs 6 Stormers 9 drawn 1In Sydney: Played 6 Waratahs 3 Stormers 3Referee: Chris Pollock (NZL)TV: Live, FoxSports 2TAB Sportsbet: Waratahs $1.75 Stormers $2
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Steve Samuelson writes: The Waratahs last beat the Stormers in 2009 which was also the last time they met in Sydney. This match could well be decided at the lineout with the Stormers boasting one of the best in the business, Andries Becker.

AAP writes: It’s do-or-die time for both perennial finals contenders as the attack-minded Waratahs back up from their 11-try romp over the Kings against a Stormers outfit which has conceded just 11 five-pointers all season.

Israel Folau was the chief destroyer for the Tahs last outing and the Stormers will need to keep the classy fullback in check to have any hope of keeping their playoff hopes alive. Despite having Wallabies stars Berrick Barnes and Drew Mitchell back at his disposal, coach Michael Cheika has named an unchanged starting line-up to take on last year’s runners-up.

WARATAHS: Israel Folau, Cam Crawford, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Rob Horne, Peter Betham, Bernard Foley, Brendan McKibbin, Wycliff Palu, Michael Hooper, Dave Dennis, Kane Douglas, Sitaleki Timani, Sekope Kepu, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson. Reserves: John Ulugia, Paddy Ryan, Will Skelton, Mitchell Chapman, Pat McCutcheon, Matt Lucas, Berrick Barnes, Drew Mitchell

STORMERS: Joe Pietersen, Gio Aplon, Juan de Jongh, Jean de Villiers (capt), Bryan Habana, Gary Van Aswegen, Dewaldt Duvenage, Duane Vermeulen, Rynhardt Elstadt, Siya Kolisi, Andries Bekker, Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Deon Fourie, Steven Kitshoff. Reserves: Siyabonga Ntubeni, Pat Cilliers, Don Armand, Nizaam Carr, Louis Schreuder, Elton Jantjies, Gerhard van den Heever

Blues v Rebels

Eden Park, Auckland, Saturday 5.35pm (AEST)Last meeting: Round 7 2012 – Rebels 34 bt Blues 23 at AAMI ParkHead-to-head: Played 2 Blues 1 Rebels 1In Auckland: First meetingReferee: Garratt Williamson (NZL)TV: Live, FoxSports 2TAB Sportsbet: Blues $1.11 Rebels $6
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Steve Samuelson writes: The Rebels have been no easybeats since their disastrous tour of South Africa but have scored just the one win in the past month. Blues coach John Kirwan has made no secret of his delight that Rebels fullback Kurtley Beale will be absent.

AAP writes: The Rebels’ chance of a breakthrough win after three consecutive last-ditch losses suffered a major blow with Wallaby Kurtley Beale being stood down again. After a star cameo off the bench when they almost toppled the Chiefs, Beale breached the guidelines of his return to rugby from a month-long ban by drinking over the weekend. Japanese Test hooker Shota Horie has won his first start for the Rebels.

The Blues were flat in their one-point win over the Stormers and coach John Kirwan has made five personnel changes and a midfield tweak. Speedster George Moala has been named on the wing among the changes while there is no Keven Mealamu, with a calf injury still causing problems.

BLUES: Charles Piutau, Frank Halai, Rene Ranger, Francis Saili, George Moala, Chris Noakes, Piri Weepu, Peter Saili, Brendon O’Connor, Steven Luatua, Ali Williams (capt), Anthony Boric, Angus Ta’avao, Quentin MacDonald, Tim Perry. Reserves: Gafatasi Su’a, Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Ronald Raaymakers, Luke Braid, Jamison Gibson-Park, Baden Kerr, Lolan Visinia.

REBELS: Jason Woodward, Tom English, Mitch Inman, Lachie Mitchell, Cooper Vuna, James O’Connor, Nick Phipps, Scott Higginbotham (capt), Scott Fuglistaller, Jarrod Saffy,  Cadeyrn Neville, Hugh Pyle, Laurie Weeks, Shota Horie, Nic Henderson. Reserves: Ged Robinson, Paul Alo-Emile, Luke Jones, Gareth Delve, Nic Stirzaker, Angus Roberts, Bryce Hegarty