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Burns urges Glory to focus

Perth skipper Jacob Burns says the Glory have put aside the joy of beating Brisbane and turned their attention to Central Coast

As opening-day results go, it didn’t get much better for Glory than downing last season’s reigning champions and at least partially avenging a grand final defeat in the process.

But while admitting the victory at Patersons Stadium was a sweet one, Burns was quick to point out his players are not resting on their laurels as they prepare for a challenging trip to Central Coast.

“It’s going to be a tough game,” Burns predicted.

“Central Coast are a team that I think will be right up there this season and have been consistently up there in recent years.

“It was a great result for us to get three points at home, but we’re not going to get carried away by that.

“There was a lot of hype before the game and that definitely motivated us, but at the end of the day, three points is three points and now we’re looking forward and moving on.

“If we go to Central Coast thinking it’s going to be an easy game, we’ll end up learning the hard way.

“They are a tough side, they are very physical and well-organised and I’m sure Arnie (Central Coast coach Graham Arnold) will be at them to put in a good performance against us.”

It was of course Glory who brought the Mariners’ 2011-2012 campaign to a dramatic end, downing the minor premiers on penalties in last season’s preliminary final and Burns is expecting a backlash from the home side at Bluetongue Stadium on Sunday.

“I think it’s healthy that the Mariners will be looking for a bit of revenge,” he said. “And Arnie will be on to them about that.

“We’ll be up against some old faces and we know that we’re going to have to be at our best to get three points up there.”

The Western Australians will be forced to make the cross-country trip without striker Shane Smeltz due to his international commitments with New Zealand.

But having seen Billy Mehmet come off the bench to head home his side’s winner against Roar, Burns is confident there is sufficient quality in Glory’s squad to cover the absence of last season’s top scorer.

“I think Billy did very well on Sunday and there’s definitely healthy competition for places here now.

“We are going to have to depend not just on 11 but on our squad of 23 and it’s a headache for the manager, but a good headache to have.”

At a personal level, meanwhile, the Mariners clash will see Burns go head-to-head with close friend and former Sydney United, Parramatta Power and Glory team-mate Mile Sterjovski, a contest the 34-year-old will relish.

“I promised my wife and Mile’s wife that I wouldn’t kick him,” he joked. “So I’ll have to be on my best behaviour!

“He’s a fantastic mate and a fantastic player and he did very well in their first game, so I’m sure he’ll be looking to put in a good effort for his team up there.

“It’ll be a bit strange playing against him, but I’m looking forward to the occasion.

Wed 10 October, 2012
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