STUNG by the Reds in the season opener, the Newcastle Jets are determined not to fall into the same trap against world travellers Wellington Phoenix at Hunter Stadium on Sunday.
Six of the Phoenix’s stars – Jeremy Brockie, Mark Paston, Tony Lochhead, Ben Sigmund, Glen Moss, Leo Bertos – and coach Ricki Herbert were in Shanghai with the New Zealand national team this week playing a friendly against China on Wednesday night, which ended in a 1-1 draw.
Goalkeeper Paston and defender Lochhead played full games, Sigmund played 66 minutes, Bertos and Brockie both came on with 25 minutes to go and reserve keeper Paston was an unused substitute.
The rest of the A-League squad stayed in Wellington under the care of assistant coach Chris Greenacre.
The All Whites contingent made the long journey to Newcastle yesterday and will be joined today by their Phoenix teammates, leaving them one training session tomorrow to get ready for the Jets.
Adelaide encountered a similar horror preparation before trumping the Jets 2-0 at Hunter Stadium in the opening round.
Though together as a team, Adelaide travelled 33 hours from Uzbekistan – where they lost 3-2 in extra-time to Bunyodkor midweek – to tackle the Jets on the Sunday.
However, if they were jet lagged or battle weary, it didn’t show.
Dario Vidocsic opened the visitors’ account in the second minute and they went on to control the rest of the match.
With the Reds’ loss still fresh in his mind, assistant coach Craig Deans warned that the Jets could not ‘‘worry about what other people are doing away from here’’.
‘‘The most important thing for us is to focus on our own game and our own individual performances,’’ he said.
“What the opposition is doing is out of our control.
‘‘With the Adelaide game you would have expected them to be flat but that wasn’t the case, so I don’t think we can get bitten on the backside with that one again.’’
Unlike Adelaide, the Phoenix are familiar with long-haul travel and preparing without their coach, who has filled dual roles since the club’s inception.
“They travel a fair way to all games and they cope with it and they deal with it,’’ Deans said.
‘‘They’ve got a good mentality, so from our point of view [jet lag’s] not really going to come into the equation.”