Western Sydney defender Robbie Cornthwaite says the in-form Wanderers are setting their sights on the A-League’s top teams after notching a third straight win on Saturday.
The stand-in skipper bookended his side’s impressive 3-0 victory over Newcastle Jets with a pair of towering headers at McDonald Jones Stadium.
Wanderers withstood some early Jets pressure before outclassing the hosts on the way to snatching fifth spot from Perth Glory.
“Full credit to our team. We’ve shown a lot of character lately not to go a goal down when we’re under pressure,” Cornthwaite told Fox Sports.
“I’m absolutely knackered which shows Newcastle really pushed us, especially in that first half.
“We were probably a bit too deep in the first half which gave them a few half chances but our recovery has been good, we’ve been scrambling well.
“About six to eight weeks ago we said we wanted to start knocking off teams above us and we’ve done another one tonight so why can’t we just keep going?”
With regular captain Dimas confined to the bench and Mitch Nichols absent through injury, Cornthwaite shone in the spotlight as he elevated his A-League career tally to six goals.
“I think [assistant coach] Andres [Carrasco] will be happy with a couple of set-pieces which he’s been working on for about eight months,” the 31-year-old joked. “I might have to wear the armband every week I think!”
Meanwhile, Newcastle stalwart Jason Hoffman was left deflated after the Jets slumped to defeat in their final home match of the season.
Two first-half goals and another shortly after the restart deepened Newcastle’s late-season misery, with the Hunter side having now lost six of their last eight games.
“Finals was gone but you still want to make a difference on the table and try to restore a bit of pride especially for the local fans,” Hoffman told Fox Sports.
“[We wanted to] give them some kind of hope going through the next few rounds and obviously next season but it wasn’t good enough.
“There are a lot of winners in the team but unfortunately it hasn’t gone our way.”
Saturday’s loss will leave the Jets last on the ladder if rivals Central Coast Mariners can claim three points away to Brisbane Roar on Sunday.
Hoffman said the inability to convert early opportunities against the Wanderers was the “story of the season”.
“You don’t take your chances and then you concede pretty soft goals,” the full-back said. “All credit to [Western Sydney] as well, they’ve been the form team the last four or five weeks.
“It was just a difference in execution tonight and they did that very well.”