Jets hoping for Hunter Stadium fortress

Mark Birighitti says the Jets are hoping to make Hunter Stadium a fortress for their battle with Wellington Phoenix on Sunday.

Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets goalkeeper Mark Birighitti says the Jets are hoping to make Hunter Stadium a fortress for their battle with Wellington Phoenix on Sunday afternoon.

After their opening round lost to Adelaide United, the Jets have won their last two matches at Hunter Stadium and Birighitti said the Jets are eager to keep their good form at home going when the Phoenix visit this weekend.

“Wellington are always a tough team to play against, we found that out in the pre-season and they-ve got some good players who have been together for a while,” Birighitti said.

“It-s going to be hard to break them down, but I-m pretty sure we can go out there on the weekend and get three points and hopefully our crowd comes out to support us like they always do.

“At the start of the season we wanted to make Hunter Stadium a fortress and we-ve been lucky to be doing that in the last couple of games and hopefully that run continues.”

After pulling off a number of important saves in last weekend-s 2-1 win over Western Sydney Wanderers, Birighitti will once again have an important role ton play as the Jets continue to search for their first clean sheet of the season.

“It was another solid performance (last week), not only by myself but the team in general. I think we deserved it, we were a bit under the pump in the second half, but to come out with the three points was a great result,” Birighitti said.

“Those saves, you have to make them to win games. I thought it was a good all-round performance by the team.

“Defensively we-re getting better and better every game we-re playing and Emile in those last five minutes was fantastic and Tiago put in a good shift as well throughout the whole game and kept us solid also.”

Birighitti said getting off to a good start and matching the Phoenix-s intensity and commitment would be imperative on Sunday.

“They-re a team that loves battling, they-re a physical side and they-ll probably try and get into us at the start of the game, but we just have to focus on our own game, do our own thing and do what Gary sets out for us before the game,” he said.

“That-s where we lack, I think we don-t start the games off the best and I think that showed on the weekend when Western Sydney were on top of us in the first 15 minutes and they got an early goal.

“We can-t afford to do that against Wellington, they-ve got a good strike force with guys like Paul Ifill and a few of their other young boys. We-ve got to go out there from the start of the game and try and dominate.”

Birighitti said he was beginning to adjust to playing consistent A-League football as the season wears on.

“Every game I-m playing I-m getting better and better and I-m getting more confidence every week,” he said.

“Even though it was a disappointing start to the season getting sent off against my former Club, that-s forgotten about now.

“Every game I-ve played since I-ve performed and I-ve just got to keep doing what I-ve been doing, training hard and making sure when I get a chance I take it.”

Match details: Newcastle Jets v Wellington Phoenix Hunter Stadium Sunday, November 18 Kick-off 3pm (Gates open 2pm) Tickets available from PROticket

Following the conclusion of Sunday-s fixture, children will have the opportunity to have a kick-around on the Hunter Stadium turf.