James Virgili scored another pre-season goal but the big news from the Newcastle Jets' 1-0 defeat of Melbourne Victoroy on Wednesday was the loss of Emile Heskey to a knee injury. The Jets' Marquee forward went down under a heavy challenge from Melbourne's Nick Ansell and needed to be helped off the pitch in the 23rd minute. The 35-year-old will undergo tests on his left knee on Thursday but manager Gary Van Egmond said early diagnoses suggest a three- to four-week absence.
Emile Heskey has a suspected medial ligament strain in his left knee. He will have scans tomorrow to assess further #NTUA— Newcastle Jets (@NewcastleJetsFC) September 18, 2013
The early diagnosis is a 3-4 week injury, but more will be known after Emile has scans tomorrow #NTUA— Newcastle Jets (@NewcastleJetsFC) September 18, 2013
Beyond the Heskey injury, the match played behind closed doors at AAMI Park was a combative affair mixed with torrential rain and several last minute injury replacements. Archie Thompson bowed out in the morning, giving Guy Finkler a chance to start for the Victory while Nathan Burns strained a hamstring in warm-ups and required a Ben Kantaraovski replacement for the Jets. Kosta Barbarouses made his Victory pre-season debut and was dangerous in combination with Finkler and Connor Pain.
On the whole, the Victory were the stronger side, creating chances through Mitch Nichols in particular, though again, the Melbourne side were unable to score against A-League competition. Mark Birighitti made a key save in the 85th minute to deny Ansell, highlighting the Jets' goalkeeper's strong performance on the day. Virgili's goal came from the penalty spot in the 49th minute after Adrian Leijer tackled Virgili in the box.
Both clubs play their final pre-season games on September 29 with the Victory meeting Western Sydney Wanderers at Twin Ovals in Kingston, Tasmania and the Jets playing Central Coast Mariners at Scully Park Oval in Tamworth, NSW.
Here are highlights and interviews with Victory manager Ange Postecoglou, via the club's website:
NUJ Virgili (pen) 49'
Newcastle Jets: Birighitti; Gallaway, Chapman, Jaliens, Neville; Oxborrow, Virgili; Kantarovski, Caravella, Hoole; Heskey (Gibbs 23')
Melbourne Victory: Coe; Traore (Galloway 78'), Ansell, Leijer, Geria; Broxham (Jeggo 73') , Milligan, Nichols; Barbarouses, Finkler (Govas 46'; Markarounas 78'), Pain