Mombaerts was true to his word on Sunday when he left out first choice goalkeeper Dean Bouzanis in favour of back-up shot stopper Tom Glover, the Olyroo who joined from Tottenham in the off-season.
The Frenchman said he specifically made the change as he felt Newcastle might be dangerous with crosses and high balls and that 1.90-metre Glover might be better equipped to deal with the threat than Bouzanis.
It was the latter, along with Harrison Delbridge, who was involved in a dithering clearance attempt from a cross in the previous week’s 0-3 home reverse against Perth Glory, which allowed the relatively small Bruno Fornaroli to put the West Australians ahead against his former club. Bouzanis looks to have paid the price.
Tall midfielder Rostyn Griffiths was absent through illness and that also affected Mombaerts’ decision making for the Newcastle game. He had been perturbed by how poorly City had been defensively in that defeat against Glory.
“We were not effective enough in defence in that game, and we worked and practiced on it. With Rostyn out I was worried we might be in trouble in the air and I felt Glover is more comfortable in the air, so I made the change,” he said.
Mombaerts would not be drawn on whether the 21-year-old would retain his spot for the Victory clash, but having kept a clean sheet on the road in a 4-0 win it would be a harsh call to drop him after just one appearance.
One man who might struggle to back up is midfielder Denis Genreau. He came into a revamped midfield but sustained a shoulder injury in the first half and did not complete 90 minutes.
“I am worried about Denis’ shoulder. He will need to have an examination when we get back to Melbourne,” Mombaerts said before his players left Newcastle on Monday afternoon.
He was delighted with the performance of Uruguayan Adrian Luna, who bagged two goals.
“Luna was perfect as a number 10. He worked very hard and he scored, which is very important for a midfielder,” he said.
Michael Lynch is The Age’s chief soccer reporter and also reports on motor sport and horseracing