JETS central defender Taylor Regan and coach Gary van Egmond denied there was an on-field spat between the two in yesterday’s 1-1 draw with Wellington and said it was just a miscommunication.
Regan went down with cramp in injury time at Westpac Stadium, to a chorus of boos from the small but vocal crowd of 6429.
He was then substituted by van Egmond for striker Adam Taggart, and marquee striker Emile Heskey made a cameo at centre-back for the closing minutes.
As he left the pitch Regan appeared to be having terse words with van Egmond.
‘‘It was more so just a miscommunication from the fact we were told he was no good and injured, so we looked to take him off,’’ van Egmond said.
‘‘Next thing I find out he’s OK. But we’d made the decision and he was already done.
‘‘Emile looked like a colossus at the back, so he did a pretty decent job as well.
Regan returned to the side for the suspended Josh Mitchell after he missed last week’s goalless draw with Central Coast with a calf injury.
He said his lack of training in recent weeks had taken its toll in the unusually warm Wellington conditions.
‘‘The referee sent the stretcher on and there was no way known to man I was going to go off on a stretcher,’’ Regan said.
‘‘So I got off and limped to the sideline and was able to stretch the cramp up and continue.
‘‘The word didn’t get around to Gary that I was fine and he already told the fourth official I was coming off.
‘‘That happens, and we were lucky enough to hold out with big Emile the centre back.’’
As one of only three players alongside Jobe Wheelhouse and Ryan Griffiths in yesterday’s line-up to have experienced the hoodoo in Wellington, Regan believes there is a fresh approach in the side that helped avoid a seventh straight defeat to the Phoenix. ‘‘Coming into this weekend a few of us boys who’d been here before were confident knowing that the form we were in – and not only that, the mentality – is different this year,’’ Regan said.
‘‘[The young boys] weren’t used to that hurdle. So it wasn’t brought up too much around the sheds.
‘‘Gary touched on it and said Wellington think we’re their bunnies. And that just gives us extra motivation to play well, and I think today we showed the mental side of things is much better than in previous seasons.’’