Newcastle Jets' Ernie Merrick dismisses 'nonsense' feud with Kevin Muscat
Newcastle Jets coach Ernie Merrick is glad he won't have to front a joint media conference with Kevin Muscat, saying it would have added unnecessary fuel to what he says is a "nonsense" A-League Grand Final subplot.
Merrick and his Melbourne Victory counterpart are due to speak to the media on Friday in Newcastle.
However, for the first time in the competition's history, they'll do it separately, not together, as has been the custom for A-League Grand Finals.
It means Merrick and Muscat, who have had a fractured relationship since the former quit as Victory coach in 2011, won't come face-to-face until before the match at McDonald Jones Stadium.
And that suits Merrick just fine, with the coach saying the focus should be on the football, not them.
"One thing we want to do here in Newcastle is host a wonderful Grand Final and show our hospitality," Merrick told Macquarie Radio.
"The last thing I wanted was a joint press conference descending downwards and it becoming about the coaches one way or another.
"I think we're the only country in the world that has joint press conferences with coaches before a match."
Merrick and Muscat, who won two A-League titles together in Melbourne, have been at pains this week to avoid talking about their falling out.
"I've moved on. I don't know if Kevin Muscat has regarding our time," he said.
"I hope everyone focuses on a high-quality game which has a lot of attacking intent and delivers entertainment rather than an us-against-them, master against apprentice -- that sort of nonsense."
Meanwhile, Merrick endorsed Graham Arnold's call for the double-chance to return to the A-League finals system after Sydney FC were eliminated from the championship reckoning after losing to Victory.
"Let's face it, we've played 27 rounds to eliminate 40 percent of the teams," he said.
"Really, everyone in the top six has got a chance of winning it.
"If anyone loses one game they're out, and that's not right, especially a team like Sydney who have lost five games in two years.
"To me, that's ridiculous. They should have a second chance. I totally agree with Arnie."