Melbourne has nothing to prove

Saturday's Hyundai A-League blockbuster between Gold Coast United and Melbourne Victory looms as a battle of the incumbent champions against the chief contender to their throne, but Melbourne's Grant Brebner and Matthew Kemp believe their club has nothing to prove against the brash new boys.

Saturday's Hyundai A-League blockbuster between Gold Coast United and Melbourne Victory looms as a battle of the incumbent champions against the chief contender to their throne, but Melbourne's Grant Brebner and Matthew Kemp believe their club has nothing to prove against the brash new boys.

Gold Coast has started its first campaign impressively and currently leads the competition on 13 points after four wins and a draw from seven matches. But while Miron Bleiberg's boys have claimed some pretty big scalps, a victory over Melbourne would be one of the biggest in their short time in the Hyundai A-League.

Brebner expects the Gold Coast to come out with plenty to prove, particularly after last week's defeat to Central Coast, but says that won't change Melbourne's approach to the game.

"I think it goes with the territory of being a big club. Regardless of where you are, teams always want to beat the big clubs. That's credit to ourselves, that we have set the benchmark of being the team that everybody wants to beat," he said.

"The Gold Coast are a new team, they've got everything to prove, we've got nothing to prove. We'll go up there and concentrate on ourselves as we always do."

Kemp said that Melbourne has tended to lift its intensity against those who it perceives as a threat, but says it's about matching Gold Coast's performances on the field, not what has been said off it.

"I think we tend to play better against the higher teams on the ladder. We seem to have better intensity. I think playing a big game like this, it gets a bit of attention, it's a good game to come in off a win. We'll have the confidence to know we can come away with another three points away from home," he said.

"We need the points for us, not for what anybody's saying. We need to go out there and win, regardless of who we are playing."

Gold Coast goes into the game without striker Shane Smeltz, who has scored nine goals so far this season and Brebner believes that a big bonus for his side.

"Anybody losing a striker of that calibre in the team is going to feel it. It's probably not the best for them, but it's a bonus for us," he said.

Kemp agreed, but is wary of underestimating a side which has so much depth and quality.

"I think they are a good side. I think they've got a lot of good players. They are obviously going to be missing Smeltz, but they've got plenty of quality players around the park who can hurt us if we don't go out there and play with high intensity," he said.

"(Smeltz is) a very good player. He's a mate of mine, I played with a him a few years ago. He's a good boy, it's a shame that he's out, but if that's what it takes for us to beat them then, it'd be nice not having him running at me."

Meanwhile, Brebner has his own opinions on how the Victory should take to combating the influence of Gold Coast captain Jason Culina on Saturday night.

"I think it will be very, very hard to man-mark him, because he's just constantly on the move. If you are man-marking him for 90 minutes, I'm pretty sure that you'll be needing some extra air with 20 minutes to go, because he's very hard to pin-point and mark throughout the game," he said.