Branko excited to be back

Branko Culina has never been more excited about the state of Australian football or about being back in coaching.

Branko Culina has never been more excited about the state of Australian football or about being back in coaching.

Culina has ridden the coaching rollercoaster over the past two decades and admitted he was a little hesitant when asked to get back on board with the Newcastle Jets after the departure of Gary Van Egmond. But some familial advice and a look at the quality of the Hyundai A-League convinced him that it was worth another shot.

While he has hardly had the ideal introduction, with just six weeks to get himself ready for the 2009-10 Hyundai A-League season, Culina is brimming with energy and can't wait to get pitchside when the Jets host Wellington Phoenix on Sunday.

"I love being involved in coaching. There's nothing better than being a player, but next best thing is to be a coach in the A-League. Particularly in this fifth season where I think it looks like it's better than ever before," he said.

Culina is well-placed to judge the extraordinary progression of domestic football in this country having coached four different teams in the NSL and Sydney FC in the Hyundai A-league in Season 3. He said the hype around the competition is enormous and it is very exciting to be a part of it.

"I was involved in year three, I was involved in the old NSL for a long period of time and I've seen nothing like this. The quality of players that we've got, I was just talking to Robbie Fowler, who I tried to get to Sydney FC a couple of years ago, then you look at players like Jason Culina, Chris Coyne, Jacvob Burns, Mile Sterjovski, current Socceroos," he said.

"Then you've got the media interest, which has been absolutely phenomenal. So there's so much to be excited about, and I'm just delighted to have an opportunity to be a part of it."

It will be a big weekend for the Culina family, with Branko's son Jason leading Gold Coast United out for its first game against Brisbane on Saturday.

It's amazing to think that father and son will be back in the same league again, considering a few months ago Jason was successfully plying his trade in Europe and Branko was a technical director at the Jets who had serious reservations about coaching again.

Culina Snr said that when Van Egmond decided to leave, he wasn't sure if he was ready to get back in the hot seat, but after speaking to Jason and his other son Dean, he decided to give it another crack.

"I was lucky enough to be involved a technical director, which is great to be involved in the game you love and get paid for it. I was very fortunate, but when the opportunity came to be coach, while I had some reservation because of previous experiences, I also felt I would be letting myself down," he said.

"I spoke to Jason and my other son about it and said, what do you think? Should I be back and should I say I've past it? And they said, 'Dad you'd be silly, look how your talking, just go and do what you love doing'. I must admit, since coming back from overseas and being in charge, I have't been this happy for a long, long time."