Jets bubble bursts

Branko Culina felt Newcastle's run of wins had to end at some point and it did with a thud in Perth on Boxing Day, but he's happy with where his team sits ahead of the break over New Year.

Branko Culina felt Newcastle's run of wins had to end at some point and it did with a thud in Perth on Boxing Day, but he's happy with where his team sits ahead of the break over New Year.

The Jets had put together four straight wins and six victories in their last nine games, so were on a good roll coming to Perth on Boxing Day before suffering the 4-0 loss.

In the aftermath, Culina chose not to fall back on excuses when dissecting his team-s disappointing performance.

"We make no excuses, though, whether it be the trip, playing on Boxing Day although it's not ideal, players missing. We just weren-t up to it, but we are better than that. We've shown that over the last two months and we'll show it again," Culina said.

"We are better than what we showed. I'm disappointed for the public in Perth that we weren-t able to show what we are capable of. That's the disappointing part, but for some reason Perth seems to have the wood on us. We've lost eight games this year and five have been against two teams, Perth and Wellington."

With the A-League season proving to be almost impossible to predict with surprise results seemingly the norm, Culina knew the Jets' winning run had to end at some stage.

He saw signs pretty early on that it wasn-t Newcastle's day and when referee Ben Williams was overruled by his assistant to award a penalty to Perth, things looked ominous.

"It was coming. You can't go winning every game and nobody has done what we've done, and there comes a time when you lose a game, and we lost. No it doesn-t (concern me), because we have a good enough team to bounce back," he said.

"I'm led to believe it wasn-t a penalty, but there's been a few of those kind of decisions that have gone against us this year so we kind of expect them. At the end of the day if they are penalties you can't complain, but if they weren-t then you hope it evens itself out over the course of the season."

Playing in Boxing Day in Perth, which meant Newcastle made its biggest trek of the season on Christmas, certainly didn-t please anyone at the Jets, but Culina is now looking forward to the break and then big games with Melbourne, Gold Coast, Brisbane and Sydney.

"It's not ideal. You'd have to ask yourselves how Brisbane plays Gold Coast on Boxing Day when they are neighbours and we have to travel half the world, but we don-t make the decisions. We just play," he said.

"We've got a bit of a break so we can have some time to think about it. We've been the form team of this competition for the last two months and no team has won as many games as we have. You have a hiccup and this was one of those. We have to go back to the drawing board, recharge our batteries over the Christmas period and come back firing against Melbourne."

The Jets were without Michael Bridges, Tarek Elrich and Fabio Vignaroli, among others, for the clash with Perth and Culina doesn-t expect any back to face Sydney on January 10, but is still happy with where his team currently is positioned in fourth spot.

"The boys have done a terrific job and I'm delighted with where we are. Bear in mind also we are missing quite a few key players and we don-t have the depth of some other teams," he said.

"When some of those players aren-t there it makes it a bit tougher, but the boys have been terrific and have done ever so well. People wrote us off and even now I don-t think that people take us seriously enough. We are still fourth on the table and nobody picked us to be there at the start of the year."