Culina calls for change

Newcastle Jets coach Branko Culina has called on Football Federation Australia to look at the A-League scheduling after his side went down 4-0 to Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium on Saturday night.

Newcastle Jets coach Branko Culina has called on Football Federation Australia to look at the A-League scheduling after his side went down 4-0 to Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium on Saturday night.

The Jets were missing a host of first-choice players through injury and suspension in Wellington and had to contend with a short turnaround plus the travel to New Zealand in backing up from Wednesday night's home win against Gold Coast United.

And Culina has warned the heavy workload and travel will start to take its toll on the players.

"I don't think we're set up in Australia to play this many mid-week games with the number of players that we have," he said.

"It's different playing overseas where you have larger squads and can make up for it."

"You understand why it's done and you sympathise with the FFA and the broadcaster but it is tough on the players."

"We've got to be very careful that if you push the players too much it will catch up with them. You get injuries when you are tired."

"It's not just about playing the games (it's the travel as well). We've gone from playing on Wednesday night, then a recovery session on Thursday morning in Newcastle."

"We've left Newcastle at 1pm and arrived here at 2.30am yesterday and we're expected to play a very tough game today. It's asking too much, particularly when you've got nearly 50 percent of your squad out through injury."

There is no doubt the absence of key players like Ljubo Milicevic, Kasey Wehrman, Jobe Wheelhouse (all suspended) and Ruben Zadkovich, Ben Kantarovski, Michael Bridges and Jeremy Brockie played a part in Newcastle's loss.

Against the Phoenix they did not look like a side that had gone seven games unbeaten and had conceded only 12 goals prior to Saturday night's game.

Even with Paul Ifill, who was taken off on a stretcher after suffering a leg injury with just 10 minutes gone, the Phoenix were able to open up the reshuffled Jets defence with ease.

Tim Brown, Marco Rojas - making his first start - and Chris Greenacre, who came on for Ifill, had all found the back of the net before half-time leaving Dylan Macallister to ram home the final nail in the coffin a couple of minutes from time.

But Culina believed the result was simply a speed bump and there was no need to hit the panic button yet as the Jets remain firmly in play-off contention.

"I'd rather lose one game 4-0 than four games 1-0," he declared.

"We've had a good run. Today was a bit of a hiccup but we'll bounce back."