Branko cranks up the heat on Jets

JETS coach Branko Culina challenged embattled young goalkeeper Ben Kennedy yesterday to show him what he was made of.

A day after declaring that Kennedy's mistakes had cost the Jets nine points this season, Culina said: "We don't want to destroy Ben Kennedy, but we do want to test him to see whether he's going to bounce back."

Culina and his coaching staff addressed the squad for an hour at their Newcastle University training grounds yesterday after the side surrendered a 1-0 half-time lead against Melbourne on Sunday to go down 3-1.

Culina also spoke to Kennedy one on one, putting his arm around the youngster.

"I wanted to ensure Ben, whilst yes I'm harsh and I thought he can do better, it's not the end of the world and it's how he responds to that which will be a telling factor," Culina said. "It's all about growing up and showing you've got what it takes.

"It's no good sulking, because sometimes you need to test players and see what they're made of. If he can't bounce back after this, maybe he does need to have a good look at himself.

"You don't want people who will sulk, because Ben's also been shown confidence by the club for a two-year extension.

"If we didn't think he had the potential, we wouldn't have offered him that."

Kennedy, 22, said he would use the criticism as a spur.

"It gets a bit hard but you've got to try and move on as quick as possible and learn from your mistakes and just concentrate on Friday, which is what I'm doing," Kennedy said. "Obviously they're just trying to help me out. I've got to accept that. This is the way they've obviously chosen to do it, and I'm happy to go down that way.

"If it helps me, I'm all for it.

"It's part of being a goalkeeper, I suppose. You've got deal with that.

"It gets a bit hard but you've just got to move on from it and concentrate on the next match."

Culina said the session at training had been about finding ways to turn around the side's fortunes. The Jets continue to play attractive football, but the results are yet to arrive with only two wins and three draws after 10 matches the last six without a win.

"It's something we've been discussing over a fair while, and it was just a matter of reinforcing a few things," Culina said yesterday.

"It's fair to say we're all disappointed with yesterday's result.

"Up to now we've looked at justifications, but yesterday we were 1-nil up and thought the game was there for the taking."

Culina said he would leave things with the players to see how they reacted in preparation for the F3 derby against Central Coast at EnergyAustralia Stadium on Friday night.

"It will probably take a few days to find out how it pans out, but it's making us all think," he said.

"We've said up until now that we've played good football, we're missing players and that luck's going to turn around, but it continues to follow us around week-in, week-out.

"So we've said, 'What can we do you turn things around?'

"At the moment it was pretty much one-way traffic from us coaches, but we've appealed to them to tell us what they think, because until they're committed to the cause it doesn't matter what us as coaches think."

Meanwhile, Perth Glory coach Dave Mitchell insists his team is a happy camp despite several players showing frustration towards one another in the 2-1 loss to Gold Coast on Sunday.

Glory players argued amongst themselves during a lacklustre first-half display and at one point skipper Jacob Burns ran over to Mitchell and demanded the substitution of Victor Sikora, who had made several mistakes.

But Mitchell said it was a sign of his competitive nature and frustration rather than any form of disharmony.

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