Newcastle Jets: Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat vows to behave himself I photos

Perhaps new A-League boss Greg O'Rourke's talents could be better utilised in the Middle East, at the United Nations, or calming nerves in America after Donald Trump's election.

After a whistle-stop tour talking to coaches and chief executives in the past week, O'Rourke earned a jaw-dropping pledge: Kevin Muscat has agreed to be nicer to referees.

The Melbourne Victory coach is a force to be reckoned with on the touchline, leaping from his chair to remonstrate with referees after every foul, real or imagined, for his team or against it.

But after a month when on-field decisions have been in the spotlight, and Muscat earned a $5000 fine from head office for criticising a referee, the Victory boss has agreed to tone it down.

"It might be a bit rich hearing it from me, but they've got a job to do that's very, very difficult,” he said on Friday before Saturday’s game against Newcastle. “Maybe we need to – and I'll lead from the front – take a little backward step and let them get on with the job."

Muscat credited the outreach from O'Rourke for the shift in attitude.

"I embraced it. The fact he made an effort to come to Melbourne, sit down and have some lunch. I thought it was unbelievably healthy."

Meanwhile, coach Paul Okon took a huge step in his A-League rookie year when Central Coast earned their first clean sheet in 36 games, beating Perth Glory 2-0 at home on Thursday and jumping into the top six for the first time in 2½ years.

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