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A-League: Mariners move to second spot Video

A-League news Jan 25, 2014
Read
Oct 19, 2013

Jets look to prove A-League doubters wrong

Sitting on the bottom of the ladder having opened their A-League campaign with defeat, the critics have already declared Newcastle are not title contenders.

And while their intention may not be reverse psychology, Jets skipper Ruben Zadkovich says the doubters will only serve to motivate his side, starting with their first home clash this season against Perth at Hunter Stadium on Sunday.

After a strong pre-season the Jets were confident of kicking their season off with victory against a newly-assembled and injury-depleted Sydney FC side last week.

Instead they went down 2-0 - thanks mainly to another display of brilliance by Alessandro Del Piero - and found themselves on the bottom of the ladder after the first round.

"We've had one game and no-one's tipping us to be successful, everyone's tipping us to be down the bottom and honestly I find it amusing," Zadkovich told AAP.

"But when people are doubting you it just makes you want to prove them wrong.

"Yes it wasn't the best start last week but we're not going to dwell on that. We know we can be successful and hopefully that starts against Perth tomorrow."

One Newcastle player who will be especially eager to put his best foot forward is midfielder Zenon Caravella.

The former Adelaide star felt so responsible for the loss after his errors led to the goals that he tried to apologise to his squad post-match.

"I couldn't speak highly enough about Zenon, he's got one of the best attitudes in the game," Zadkovich said.

"He's a fantastic addition for us and we were so lucky to get him. I think that's the only game where I've seen him make mistakes like that.

"When he tried to apologise to the team it was me who quickly shut him down and said 'look mate there's no need for apologies, everyone can make mistakes and we win as a team and lose as a team'."

The Jets will get the welcome addition of veteran striker Michael Bridges to the forward pack with the Englishman recovered from his groin strain.

And while marquee signing Emile Heskey (knee) is still at least a fortnight away from returning, Zadkovich is confident Bridges can provide the spark they need up front.

"He's a creative player and that's what we were lacking a little bit last week," he said.

"He'll make things happen because that's just the kind of player he is."

Perth, who also began their season with a loss - 3-1 to Adelaide, will also be eager to get some points.

Young striker Jamie Maclaren is again likely to start in place of the injured Shane Smeltz.

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