Deans praises Jets' character

Caretaker Jets coach Craig Deans has underlined his team's character to put a week of off-field drama behind them and come up with a thrilling 3-2 win over the Melbourne Heart on Saturday afternoon.

Caretaker Jets coach Craig Deans has underlined his team's character to put a week of off-field drama behind them and come up with a thrilling 3-2 win over the Melbourne Heart on Saturday afternoon.

The Newcastle players faced a media storm all week after the club stunned the football world by sacking coach Branko Culina and asking FFA to annul the contract of marquee recruit Jason Culina.

Despite the off-field dramas the Jets players were able to fight back from a goal down to hold a 2-1 lead at half-time courtesy of two goals from Ryan Griffiths, including a wonderful curling 20-metre free-kick.

The Heart levelled the scores early in the second half but the Jets showed plenty of resolve to snatch a late winner courtesy of defender Sung-Hwan Byun, whose shot from the edge of the area deflected off Melbourne defender Michael Marrone and into the goal in virtually the last play of the game.

"I think they are a proud bunch of players and they desperately wanted to prove something," Deans said of the Jets players after the match.

"They probably used a lot of energy up in the change room in the hour prior to the game and I think the goal (to the Heart) was a good thing."

"It gave them a kick up the backside to remind them what they were trying to achieve, and they showed good character and good spirit to fight back twice and kept going to the last kick."

Deans, who was thrust into the coaching hot seat just five days before the match, expressed his delight at the team's win and more so at his player's ability to focus on the game and shut out the off-field dramas.

"I don't want to make excuses for anything; for my first game, the loss of a coach, for anything. I don't like excuses and the players don't either at the end of the day if you are good enough you win and we were good enough," Deans said.

"Obviously because we had some drama earlier in the week it made it more important that we focus on the football and we have a tough game next week and knowing that we are going to Wellington with three points makes it a lot easier."

"Winning is the reason we play sport and it feels good," Deans added.

"It was a hard game and both teams tried to win it which is good to see. you could tell in the last five of 10 minutes that people were starting to run out of legs but the fitness of our boys go them through in the end. But in all it is a nice feeling."