Jets lament lack of games

Jets coach Branko Culina has blamed the lack of recent games for the Newcastle side as the key reason for their rusty performance in their 2-0 loss to the Melbourne Heart at Port Macquarie on Sunday afternoon.

Jets coach Branko Culina has blamed the lack of recent games for the Newcastle side as the key reason for their rusty performance in their 2-0 loss to the Melbourne Heart at Port Macquarie on Sunday afternoon.

As a result of scheduling and postponements, the Jets were playing just their second match in five weeks and it showed as their passing game lacked conviction and the players generally seemed out of touch.

"When you play one game in five weeks it does take the edge off you," Culina said after the match.

"For parts of the game I thought we were OK. The last 10 minutes of the first half we had some good chances and I said to the boys at half-time that we started off slowly and finished well which was always going to be the case after not having played much football for a while."

"In the second half I just thought we lacked that final cutting edge with that final pass or that final ball."

"But we need to play more games, but when you play one game in five weeks it does take the edge off you."

Jets skipper Ljubo Milicevic also blamed the lack of game time and agreed with Culina that the touch just wasn't there in Newcastle's game.

"It wasn't for lack of effort. Everyone put in. But when you don't play games week in week out there is always the chance that we are going to be rusty," he said.

"We weren't as sharp as you need to be to win a game."

"We can't rely on one or two half chances, we are a good enough team to dominate other teams, we hold teams out each week and we are not capitalising on our half chances."

"But at the moment with the run we have had it is really hard to have that match hardness."

Added to the problems that faced Newcastle this match was the fact that despite it being a home match it felt more like an away fixture. Both teams were forced to travel three hours by bus on game day as the match was hastily re-arranged to be played at the North Coast town of Port Macquarie after the playing surface at EnergyAustralia was deemed unfit for play following a motocross event at the Stadium two weeks ago.

However, Milicevic refused to blame the change of grounds and the travel on match day for the loss, saying it was the same for both teams.

"I was speaking to Josip (Skoko), who is a good friend of mine and we were saying that in Europe we used to travel two or three hours to every match on game day so it wasn't an issue."

"Unfortunately we couldn't play at home, it has been well documented and commented on but we had our minds focused on the game and I don't think that was an issue."

The Jets again looked solid in defence despite a spectacular goal from Heart forward Nick Kalmar and the late penalty to Gerald Sibon but the concerning factor was the lack of firepower in front of goal.

Culina pointed out that his team went into the match missing a host of front line players but again it was more about lack of game time.

"If you look at the players who were missing, (Michael) Bridges, (Jeremy) Brockie, (Jobe) Wheelhouse, (Sean) Rooney - they were all out in injured and they are all from the final third," Culina said.

"In fairness we even struggled when they were on board but certainly without them it makes the task that much harder."

"We need some inspiration but more importantly we need a few more games under our belt."

"We need to go out and play two or three games, and we will certainly get our chance over the next two months because we have five games in four weeks and hopefully we can get some rhythm going we will play better and things will get better with our game and in an attacking sense."