Phoenix ready for doubters

Wellington Phoenix skipper Andrew Durante believes his side can prove the doubters wrong, starting with Sunday's Hyundai A-League season opener against the Newcastle Jets.

Wellington Phoenix skipper Andrew Durante believes his side can prove the doubters wrong, starting with Sunday's Hyundai A-League season opener against the Newcastle Jets.

The Phoenix have already been relegated to wooden spoonists in the eyes of many across the Tasman but Durante is undeterred, saying a top-six place remains the team's goal.

"There are a lot of people doubting us and we haven't even kicked a ball yet. Obviously the old New Zealand teams, the Knights and Kingz, didn't help the cause but the Wellington Phoenix as a team have proven a lot of people wrong season after season," he said.

"It won't stop again this season. We want to prove a lot of people wrong and show that we're a semi-final team and hopefully change some opinions."

Coach Ricki Herbert said being written off was just part and parcel of being a footballer in New Zealand.

"I've had a career of that - playing and coaching. There is always going to be that sort of reflection on where we are going to finish and it's fine," he said.

"They had it last year and currently as we speak Newcastle have the wooden spoon not us."

Durante, who was part of the 2008 Newcastle side that won the title, concedes his former team has had a disrupted build-up with the departure of coach Gary van Egmond after the Jets' AFC Champions League campaign, injuries and a short pre-season with mixed results. But he remains wary nonetheless.

"Everyone is saying they are almost going to be easy beats with the problems they have had at the club. Coming from Newcastle I know they are really going to unite and will be a very difficult to beat down there, especially in front of their home crowd who are very vocal," he said.

"They have gotten written off like we have - that they are going to finish down the bottom. They have got a lot to prove and it's not going to be an easy game. "We've really got to be on our game to get all three points."

"Last season we got off to a poor start and it cost us towards the end so we definitely need to pick up three points this weekend against Newcastle."