Branko: It's great to be back

Branko Culina could hardly hide his joy after a triumphant return to the Hyundai A-League by steering Newcastle to a thrilling 3-2 victory in his debut performance as head coach of the Jets.

Branko Culina could hardly hide his joy after a triumphant return to the Hyundai A-League by steering Newcastle to a thrilling 3-2 victory in his debut performance as head coach of the Jets.

Culina took on the role just a few weeks ago and in somewhat reluctant fashion after former coach Gary van Egmond abruptly left the club less than two months before the start of the 2009/10 Hyundai A-League season.

And despite not coaching since being dumped by Sydney FC just nine weeks into the 2007/08 season Culina managed to take last year's wooden spooners and guide them to their first opening round win in their history.

"It is great to be back to be honest coaching again - it is something that I enjoy and love doing," he said after the match.

"And now that I have a 100 percent record I am going to see (chairman) Con (Constantine) and tell him it is time for me to retire," he joked.

Culina said the victory was satisfying because he felt the Jets went into the match under-prepared. But he was more impressed with the fighting capabilities of his side to come back after squandering a handy 2-0 lead.

"We showed enough to get ahead 2-0 but as I said to the lads at half-time the real test is seeing if we could bounce back after Wellington equalised and we did. We bounced back and that is the sign of a decent side," Culina said.

"A team that can go out there and play good football and go to a lead and have to start again when a team draws level - I think it encouraging to know we have got what it takes to come back."

"I have already said we would start the season a way off where we want to be but the win was very pleasing. Credit must go to the players because the type of football they played today is very good for a side that is a few weeks underdone."

Despite the excitement of the opening-round victory Culina said the match highlighted the fact that his team still has plenty of work to do to become a threat in this year's competition.

"I thought their first goal was very ordinary on our part," he said. "We made an error in the middle of the park and we gave away the ball when we should not have, and they scored from that, Sigmund was unmarked which is a problem for us because we have been working on that."

"And the second goal, we gave the ball away needlessly in the middle of the park and then we got caught out. Ben (Kennedy) probably could have done better as well. Two soft goals but it is good to come back in spite of that."

"But I think we created enough opportunities when you look at the Matt Thompson's chance in the first half, Sasho Petrovski, Jason could have had hat-trick as well, not that I am going to criticise him a third. We had enough chance sand they didn't really threaten, so it was quite pleasing."