Culina praises gritty Jets

Newcastle coach Branko Culina has praised the effort of his players after a 10-man Jets outfit defeated Melbourne 3-2 at EnergyAustralia Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Newcastle coach Branko Culina has praised the effort of his players after a 10-man Jets outfit defeated Melbourne 3-2 at EnergyAustralia Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

With the home side holding a 1-0 lead Newcastle defender Ben Kantarosvki was dismissed in the 34th minute of the hard-fought contest forcing the Jets to play for close to an hour with a man down.

Kevin Muscat's resultant penalty leveled the match but the Newcastle side showed plenty of grit to regain the lead just before half-time and then extend it to 3-1 early in the second half.

The Jets defence then held firm, eventually conceding a goal to Carlos Hernandez in stoppage time, but doing enough to register a vital 3-2 win.

"Sometimes you can come back against an ordinary team but when you come back against the current champions in the manner that we did you just have to take your hat off to the players," Culina said after the match.

"They (the Jets players) were absolutely superb, they wanted it - against all the odds - and some of the decisions didn't go our way either so it was a huge, huge win."

Culina rated the win the best he has been involved with in his time with the club and solidified the Jets as genuine contenders for this year's Hyundai A-League title.

"It was terrific," he said. "It was an outstanding performance from an outstanding team who has shown today if they really want something there is nothing stopping them."

"We said at half-time if we could get that win today under the conditions and the circumstances it would be one of the greatest achievements in the club, at least this year."

"You can't say we are a bad side because we have beaten Sydney, Gold Coast twice and will probably do it a third time, and now Melbourne - we should have at least got a point against them in the last game."

"Melbourne was coming off a loss and are fighting for the top position so you can't say there is nothing in it - they were as invested as we were."

Culina also said he had no problem with the dismissal of Kantarovski for picking up two yellow cards. The first was when he kicked the ball away after Tarek Elrich had conceded a free-kick in the 19th minute and the second when he grabbed Victory striker Robbie Kruse when he was advancing on goal in the 33rd minute.

"First of all I think the referee was right," Culina said. "But I wasn't happy with the decision and I wasn't happy with the player either."

"But having said that there were reasons for both. But I think Ben had just gone for a header and may have been concussed so he may not have been sure what he was doing."

The win keeps Newcastle in fourth place on the Hyundai A-League ladder on 31 points just one win behind second placed Melbourne. The Jets take on third placed Gold Coast United on Wednesday night.