FRESH from winning a second straight Golden Boot, Gold Coast hired gun Shane Smeltz sent an ominous warning to the Newcastle Jets: "I'm due."
Smeltz scored 19 goals in 25 appearances to smash the A-League record of 12 he had shared with former Jets golden boy Joel Griffiths.
But the Kiwi international has not hit the target in the past five games a statistic he is determined to correct in the sudden-death shoot-out with the Jets at Skilled Stadium on Saturday.
"I am due a goal and will be doing everything I can to help my side get the right result," Smeltz told The Herald.
"I think there will be opportunities for us.
"We are playing at home. If we go into the game confident and play the way we know we can, we will certainly create opportunities."
The Jets are well aware of the danger Smeltz poses.
Nearly half his haul last season for the Wellington Phoenix came against Newcastle.
He scored a double in the 2-all draw in round seven, one in the 2-0 win in round 12 and another brace in the 3-0 win in round 18.
This season he has scored two of the three goals the Gold Coast have registered against the Jets.
"It is just the way it has fallen," Smeltz said of his record.
"I really don't care who I score against. I obviously try and score against everyone."
After a stellar 2008-09 in which he won the Johnny Warren Medal as the league's best player, expectations were high when Smeltz joined Gold Coast for their inaugural season.
But rather than being a burden, the pressure has driven Smeltz to new heights.
"You notice teams tighten up on you a little bit, but if anything it gave me a little more confidence," he said.
Forming an instant partnership with Jason Culina, Smeltz signalled his intentions with a record four goals in the 5-0 triumph over fellow new boys North Queensland in round two.
The goals have flowed like a river since.
"I think Jason and I gelled well nice and early and got off to a great start," Smeltz said.
"As a striker you rely on guys like him. He is an amazing player, and when he is on song he can change games himself.
"He has certainly provided great service for me this season."
Defence has been Newcastle's Achilles heel.
They have leaked 45 goals only North Queensland (46) have a worse record and have given up at least two in nine of the past 10 games.
Central defender Nikolai Topor-Stanley will have the task of shutting down Smeltz, a challenge the 24-year-old relishes.
"It's what you play for, to play against the best," Topor-Stanley said.
"He is always a tricky customer and he always pops up with a goal, but hopefully on the night we can stick to our game plan and shut him down.
"If we score first, they seem to get frustrated, and he seems to get frustrated too.
"He's not the type of player to create a lot of things, that's more the likes of Culina.
"He might not touch the ball for 90 minutes but at the right time he'll get a touch and score the winner that's what makes him so effective.
"We've got to be mindful of that and keep an eye on him at all times."
The Jets can take some confidence from the fact they are 2-1 up in the head-to-head battle with the Gold Coast.
But both of those victories were in Newcastle.
The Jets produced a gutsy 1-0 result in round three to put an early end to owner Clive Palmer's boast that his team would go through the season undefeated, and followed that up with a 3-2 win in round 18.
Gold Coast prevented a whitewash, winning 2-0 midweek at Skilled Stadium in round 22, three days after a 10-man Jets had beaten Melbourne 3-2 in Newcastle.
"Until then we had a bit of trouble with them, but I think every team have their teams they have struggled against," Smeltz said.
"Sydney have just won the minor premiership and we have beaten them three times. It is a strange league.
"We won't take anything for granted, because we know it is a finals game and it's almost whoever wants it the most on the day will come out with the right result.
"But like I said, we will go in confident. We know we can get at them and we just have to produce on the day."