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Newcastle Jets ignore Culina controversy

Traditionally Newcastle footballers have faced adversity and last week was no different for the Jets - players and officials alike.

Nathan Tinkler, owner of the Jets and NRL club the Knights, made an unprecedented move to dump his coach and marquee signing just four days before the start of the 2011-2012 A-League season.

The "We Are Football" theme of the A-League launch on Tuesday was overshadowed by the axing of coach Branko Culina and his Socceroo son Jason.

Tinkler and the Hunter Sports Group have yet to disclose the reasons behind the acrimonious sackings of the pair.

Jason Culina had two off season knee operations and has been ruled out of playing in the 2011-2012 A-League season.

"We didn't have Jason all of the pre-season ... it is disappointing that he's not going to be with us," Jets homegrown captain Jobe Wheelhouse said.

Jets Youth coach Craig Deans was handed the reins of the squad, albeit in a caretaker role, and produced the goods with a 3-2 win over Melbourne Heart at home with 12,467 witnesses of his first team coaching debut.

The tenure is sure to be short lived with a head coach being sourced.

Club officials were tight lipped on Saturday of the applicants and sackings.

Pre-match energies were sapped out of the starting-11, the first 10 minutes the Jets struggled to gain momentum and were a goal down after 22-minutes.

"We had a bit of a talk about it early in the week," Wheelhouse said.

"The club's been through some adversity and so have the players for many years now so it's nothing new to us, we just put it behind us pretty quick and it showed in the result today.

"In the first 10 minutes whether the ball didn't bounce our way or we weren't quite switched on (and) I think it took a goal to snap us out of it and then we were OK.

"In the past we could have rolled over I guess but I think there is something special about these boys."

Deans is not quite ready to relinquish the coaching reins and has turned his attention to next Sunday's match against Wellington Phoenix in Wellington.

"I'll probably look at the transition from defence to attack," Deans said.

"You can't re-create that environment through a friendly match. I think things will fall into place but there are things where we still have a lot of work to do.

"Final decisions in the front third could have been a little better, we had some fairly decent possession both halves of the game, but we didn't use the ball in the final third as well as we could.

"The (two Heart) goals we could have defended a lot better as well."


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