Newcastle coach Clayton Zane has conceded the training ground fight with teammate Taylor Regan may have had a bigger effect on goal-keeper Mark Birighitti than the Jets coaching staff first thought as the 22-year-old was at fault for two of the three goals the Mariners scored in their 3-1 F3 Derby triumph on Saturday evening.
Birighitti was caught napping when Mariners defender Eddy Bosnar drilled a free-kick home from just inside the Jets half after just 41 seconds before the former Adelaide United player fumbled a Matt Simon attempt which offered up the third goal to Glen Trifiro two minutes from time at Central Coast Stadium.
Birighitti and Regan, who didn’t feature on Saturday evening, came to blows at Jets training on Monday and the spat was clearly still on the young goalkeeper's mind.
“It’s been a very big week if you add the two goals on top of the incident’ conceded Zane.
“You never know how it is going to affect an individual and maybe it did have a bigger effect on him than we thought.
“If I had of thought that was the case we would have looked to see how we could manage that but for both parties involved that sort of blew over pretty quickly.
Despite the fact the incident drew blood Zane did try to downplay the fight.
“At the time the incident was made into a little bit of a headline by the media because it was a slower news week.
“There was no rumblings at training, the boys got over it pretty quick.
After falling behind in the first minute to Bosnar’s long-range strike Zane, 36, didn’t lambast the keeper at the break.
“It’s more about using his experience to motivate the others, I don’t think it was a time to single anyone out.
“The kid has fallen into a bit of hole let’s help him get out of it.
“Our reaction after going 2-0 down was very good”
“He knows the score it’s been a very very toucgh week for the boy and pointing fingers at anyone is not going to help anyone.
”I actually walked off and it was quite refreshing to hear people in the change room talk about he performance for 75 minutes of that match.
“We need to be a 90 minute team leading into the finals and we have got very short time to get back to winning ways.”
Zane is confident the experience of the week will make Birighitti a better player in the long run.
“Biri’s knows the score, that’s part of his development, the timing wasn’t great but I’m sure the boys will lift him and make sure that he is ready to go tomorrow.
Zane, who still doesn’t have a contract to be head coach next season at the Jets, was pleased with certain aspects of the match.
“We have got a good group in there and they have been on a pretty good ride the last few weeks and you could feel that they had a lot more belief in themselves compared to last time we were shocked at 2-0 down (against the Mariners) the reaction this time (shows) they have definitely learnt from it.
“We have been a little bit inconsistent with our starts this year, more since I’ve come in we go through things on a tactical level but at the end of the day those first few exchanges in the game over that ten or 15 minute period – we need to get a lot better at that because we nearly went 1-0 down against Melbourne Heart last week and we can’t always give teams a head start.
”We definitely did that today in a lot bigger way than we did against Melbourne Heart.
Responding to a report from SBS’s The World Game website on Saturday Zane all but admitted talks within the club were taking place with former English striker Emile Heskey but the ‘the ball was in his court’ when it came to the 36 year-old’s decision.
“Everyone at the club loves Emile and I think that is probably one for the hierarchy to sit and discuss because everyone has got the ultimate respect for him and I actually think he has been very good the last few weeks.
“I haven’t been distracted too much with the recruitment talk later in the week, earlier in the week we had some discussions but I’m not sure what is happening with Emile.
“I think ultimately his family will make the choice whether he stays or goes, the club will probably leave the ball in his court on that one.”
The result means Newcastle could end the weekend in eighth and scrambling to make the play-offs.comments