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Canaries reunion Down Under postponed and will be behind closed doors

Former Norwich City players Gary Hooper, left, and Wes Hoolahan are both playing in the A-League Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Former Norwich City players Gary Hooper, left, and Wes Hoolahan are both playing in the A-League Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

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Wes Hoolahan helped fill the football shaped hole in the lives of Norwich City fans on Sunday but has seen a Canaries reunion postponed, as the A-League reacts to the coronavirus pandemic.

Hoolahan and the Newcastle Jets were due to be hosting Wellington Phoenix and their former City striker Gary Hooper on Sunday, however new government regulations have forced a postponement.

The A-League will now play its final six rounds of fixtures and the Finals Series which follows behind closed doors, with all travellers to Australia now having to self-isolate for 14 days.

This means that New Zealand club Wellington’s next two games, including Sunday’s trip to New South Wales to face Newcastle, are postponed - as are Melbourne Victory’s next two games, who lost 3-0 in Wellington this weekend, with Hooper on target.

The 32-year-old former Celtic and Sheffield Wednesday forward, who scored 20 goals in 70 games for Norwich between 2013 and 2016, notched his seventh goal in 18 games as Phoenix beat Melbourne.

Hoolahan, who turns 38 in May, was finally able to make his A-League debut for Newcastle on Sunday - with the game being screened live on BT Sport and being followed by plenty of Canaries fans.

He had spent pre-season with League Two side Cambridge United last year following the conclusion of a one-year deal with West Brom, before deciding to head on an adventure Down Under with his family.

The former Republic of Ireland international, who scored 54 goals in 352 games for Norwich between 2008 and 2018, then scored on his debut during a 5-1 win away to lower level Edgeworth Eagles in the FFA Cup.

However, disaster struck when a poor challenge during a 1-0 loss at Adelaide United in the quarter-finals left him needing ankle surgery in September.

Hoolahan returned to action in recent weeks with two appearances as a substitute but started and played 68 minutes of a 3-0 win at Adelaide, winning the ball back in midfield ahead of the opening goal.

The City icon also triggered the third with a chipped pass down the left wing before he was replaced by debutant former Cardiff and Wales midfielder Joe Ledley.

Hoolahan has joined another former Canaries player in New South Wales as Carl Robinson took over as manager last month, with the Jets now five unbeaten and six points adrift of the top six with six games remaining - with the top six going into the Series Finals.


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