Fighting Phoenix to lack punch on one front

SAM WORTHINGTON
Last updated 05:00 16/11/2012

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Will there be more fireworks between the Phoenix and the Jets on Sunday?

The answer depended on who you talked to at Newtown Park yesterday.

For those with short memories, a pre-season game in August turned into an ugly brawl as Manny Muscat, Ben Sigmund, Andrew Durante and Newcastle's Tiago were all sent off then later suspended by the A-League.

As the teams prepare to resume hostilities at Hunter Stadium, Phoenix star Paul Ifill still scratches his head when reflecting on the wild scenes.

"It was a bad tackle [from Tiago], it was one of the craziest things I've seen - Manny to snap like that," Ifill said.

"It's not really like Manny . . . maybe they've got a vendetta, them two, I don't know.

"We go into every game fired up anyway so I suppose what will be will be on that one."

Phoenix assistant coach Chris Greenacre did his best to hose down the situation. "I was going to say a lot of it's been blown out of proportion," he said. "But, if you punch someone, it's not really blown out of proportion."

Greenacre said the team would be reminded of how Muscat, Sigmund and Durante felt while suspended and fined during the preseason tour of India.

"And I think that should be enough to keep everyone under control. There will be a couple of niggles and stuff, but we've got to be professional and let the referees deal with it."

The Jets predictably won the game against an eight-man Phoenix but captain Durante rejected the idea that Sunday would be "payback time".

"You won't see that nonsense on the weekend," Durante said.

Contact Sam Worthington
Sports reporter
Email: sam.worthington@dompost.co.nz

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