Jets-Galaxy a big success

Jets coach Branko Culina and LA Galaxy coach Bruce Arena have toasted the success of last Saturday night’s exhibition match in Newcastle won 2-1 by the Jets.

Jets coach Branko Culina and LA Galaxy coach Bruce Arena have toasted the success of last Saturday night’s exhibition match in Newcastle won 2-1 by the Jets.

A ground capacity crowd of 23,317 turned up to watch the Jets come from behind to beat the LA Galaxy side 2-1 in an entertaining match featuring football superstar David Beckham.

“I would like to thank the organisation of the Newcastle Jets – they were fabulous hosts and the people of Newcastle and Australia have been wonderful,” Arena said after the match.

“It has been a short visit for us but a great visit. We are happy that the evening was so successful. It was a wonderful turn-out and a lot of people left with smiles on their faces and that was one of the objectives and to accomplish that was great.”

“I think the game had its good moments as well and I think the fans enjoyed it. That was the objective of this and it was real positive and I grateful we had the opportunity to do this and we look forward to coming back again.”

Culina also thought the match was a wonderful spectacle and hoped it would serve as a catalyst for more crowds to support the Jets at EnergyAustralia Stadium and around the world.

“It was great to see a tremendous crowd here,” Culina said. “Hopefully many of them will enjoy what they saw and will come back and support the team again.”

“We talked it up as an exhibition game but it was more than that, especially in light of the World Cup bid, America is one of our competitors.”

“LA Galaxy has got a huge following – I think it was being beamed back to about 15 million people, so it was important to see what the Australian brand of football is all about.”

Both Arena and Culina said the nature of the ‘friendly’ meant it was difficult to gauge a comparison between the two sides and the Hyundai A-League and MLS overall, but the Jets coach was happy to have scored the win.

“There will be comparisons between their top domestic league and ours and it is good to know that we got one over them,” Culina said.

“It was a good test for us and a good test for Australian football. There is no doubt there would have been some comparison between our A-League and the MLS so for that reason I was delighted with the boys and what they have done. I am proud of what the boys have done not only for themselves but for Australian football.”

“Don’t forget that they finished third in their competition and from talking with Bruce (Arena) they were a bit stiff not to have gone all the way, so I was pleased and I hope that we can outdo them next week when it comes to the World Cup bid.”

“I think exhibitions are hard way to judge teams but I thought the Newcastle team played well,” Arena added.

“It is hard in these exhibitions – we used 20 players and I am not sure how many they used, so the game wasn’t as fluid as it would normally be obviously, but I thought they did quite well and they scored two good goals for sure.”

Arena added that the both clubs were already talking about a return match, possibly in the States sometime next year.

“We’d love to be able to do that. I know our organisations are in talks to do just that and hopefully we can host Newcastle down the road,” Arena said. “It would be fabulous to have this relationship.”