Fireworks ensued when the two sides met in a pre-season encounter, but the Phoenix leader does not see any lingering animosity ahead of their clash on Sunday
|By EMMA STONEY
Wellington Phoenix are confident there will not be a repeat of the ugly scenes that marred their spiteful pre-season fixture against Newcastle Jets at Hunter Stadium on Sunday.
In August, an all-in-brawl between the two sides following Tiago's tackle on Manny Muscat in the 25th minute resulted in red cards for those two players and Phoenix defender Ben Sigmund.
Phoenix captain Andrew Durante was sent off later in the match against his former side for lashing out at James Brown when he was on the ground.
All four were banned for between two to four matches, while the Phoenix trio were also fined by their club.
But Durante believed there would be no lingering resentment for either side in Sunday's A-League encounter.
"It was a pre-season game. It was our first proper pre-season. There was a lot of feeling involved in that. But that was pre-season. It was a long time ago. You won't see any of that nonsense on the weekend," stressed the Phoenix skipper.
"There is nothing underlying at all. It's always a tough, physical battle against them. We're a tough, physical team. We'll go out there and play our game but we won't be thinking about anything from the last game."
Assistant coach Chris Greenacre felt the coaching staff would not have to remind the players of the need to stay disciplined.
"They are fully aware," said the Englishman.
"After all the shenanigans that went on in preseason the boys suffered massively on the tour of India and were unable to get the minutes required at the right time under their belt.
"They know what that punishment was like. We just probably need to remind them of that. I think that should be enough to keep everyone under control.
"There will be a couple of niggles I think but we've got to be professional and deal with it and let the referees deal with it the way they can."
New Zealand's international friendly against China in Shanghai on Wednesday has meant a disrupted build-up to a match the Phoenix need to win after three losses on the trot.
Coach Ricki Herbert and players Mark Paston, Glen Moss, Leo Bertos, Ben Sigmund, Tony Lochhead and Jeremy Brockie will rejoin their team-mates in Sydney on Friday.
Moss took no part in the 1-1 draw, while Paston and Tony Lochhead were the only ones to play the full 90 minutes.
Sigmund played 60-odd minutes and Bertos and Brockie the final 25. All, with the exception of Moss, should start against the Jets.
But striker Stein Huysegems is in doubt with an ankle injury. Despite scans on his left ankle coming back clear, the Belgian took no part in training on Thursday.
Greenacre however, seemed positive about the player's chances of playing.
"I'm sure he will pull through. We've all been there and had those sort of knocks on the ankle," he said.
"... But we've got other options. Tyler Boyd could replace him. We've Ricardo Clark as well."