Newcastle Jets vs. Adelaide United  0 - 2


United spurred on by AFC heartbreak

8 October 2012 09:11

Adelaide United coach John Kosmina says his players' AFC Champions League exit spurred them on to victory against Newcastle Jets on Sunday.

Adelaide were dumped out of the illustrious Asian tournament on Wednesday after suffering a 3-2 extra-time loss to FC Bunyodkor in the second leg, which followed a 2-2 draw at Hindmarsh Stadium a fortnight earlier.

With littler time to regroup the Reds arrived in Sydney barely 24 hours before they kick-started their domestic campaign against Newcastle.

Jet lag and fatigue were not an issue for the side as they downed the Jets 2-0 following goals to attackers Dario Vidosic and Iain Ramsay.

Kosmina said the collective heartbreak and pain shared by the team following their shortcomings in the ACL were pivotal in overcoming an exhausting and arduous journey littered with a flurry of plane trips that first began in Adelaide last Sunday morning.

"Wednesday (loss to Bunyodkor and ACL exit) was a really emotional experience for everyone - there were guys crying ... even thinking about it now, it chokes me up a bit," Kosmina said.

"It was such an emotional outpouring losing the way that we did after having fought for so long.

"It actually bought the guys a lot closer together so I think there was a bit of momentum in that in itself to help us get through Sunday (win over Newcastle).

"The hardest thing now will be to pick them up for Friday night (against Western Sydney Wanderers).

"Mentally, I think they are stronger than they have been and physically they're in fantastic condition, but we still have to make sure we keep them tuned up and buzzing for Friday."

Vidosic, who has looked sharp since overcoming a hamstring niggle sustained during pre-season and already has a goal and assist to his name in the A-League, shared Kosmina's view.

The 25-year-old said Adelaide's failure to progress would assist in their preparation for a renewed 2012-13 domestic campaign after finishing a dismal ninth and missing out on finals action last season.

"The heartbreak of just missing out, going into extra-time all the way at Tashkent and being unfortunate at home to draw (in the first leg) ... will help us preparation wise," Vidosic said.

"We will learn from this and can now take it into the A-league and be better prepared.

"Friday night we should come out firing and be a better team as from the one against Newcastle."

With a short turnaround once more to welcome the A-League's fresh faces of the competition in Western Sydney Wanderers, Friday night's first home fixture represents a tricky clash for Adelaide.

Kosmina said all A-League games were a potential 'banana skin' but warned of the Wanderers' threat following their well-earned point in a 0-0 draw against triple grand finalists Central Coast Mariners last week.

"Western Sydney had only three months to put together a team and Popa (Western Sydney coach Tony Popovic) has done a great job," Kosmina said.

"I know Tony personally and what he's like as a coach and was a player, and he is a winner.

"He will want to win, so they will be pumped to come down here."


Heskey primed for Newcastle start

4 October 2012 15:54

Newcastle Jets coach Gary van Egmond has confirmed marquee signing Emile Heskey will play in their A-League opener against Adelaide on Sunday.

Heskey only touched down in Australia last Friday but has already impressed at several Jets training sessions in the past week showing he is fit and in good touch.

The 34-year-old played at the point of the attack in a 4-2-3-1 formation at training this week and despite looking as if he is still coming to terms with the spring heat, van Egmond was confident the former England international will make an impact this Sunday.

"Emile will be involved on the weekend for sure. He got through training on Tuesday and Wednesday fine," van Egmond said at the team announcement on Thursday morning.

"Emile will lead the line and be a real presence at the point of the attack - he is a great asset."

Heskey has shown his professionalism by throwing himself into training at his new club from the outset, confirming he is determined to give his best in his stint in Australia.

"Emile is a competitor, he's a winner. You can see in the training sessions he won't let things beat him," van Egmond said.

Jets skipper Jobe Wheelhouse echoed the coach's sentiments.

"He has settled in quite well and he's a great addition to our squad," Wheelhouse said.

"You only have to look at the last couple of days. He looks sharp with his quality on the ball, he is a real target man and that gives us a different angle to our game, and hopefully he can get on the end of a few crosses as well."

In other team news, it looks as if the Jets will have a new look defensive line with new signings Craig Goodwin, Scott Neville, Dominik Ritter and Josh Mitchell at the back with Mark Birighitti firming as favourite to start in goals.

"I'm pretty close to sorting my starting XI. There's a couple of positions we're still looking at but we'll decide that on Saturday," van Egmond said.

"Both our goal-keepers are doing really well. We've got the next couple of days to finalise the squad. They are pushing each other hard."

A-League table

# Team MP D P
1 27 +20 57
2 27 +26 54
3 27 +3 44
4 27 +1 41
5 27 +4 35
6 27 -2 32
7 27 -10 32
8 27 -15 31
9 27 -9 27
10 27 -18 27