Jacob Burns will be motivated by revenge when Perth Glory take on Wellington Phoenix in Saturday's A-League minor semifinal clash at nib Stadium.
The Glory captain, who shook off a rib injury to play his part in last weekend's elimination final win over Melbourne Heart, said the painful memory of losing to Phoenix in the 2009-10 finals campaign still lingered and would provide an additional spark in the match.
A place in the preliminary final is the carrot for players on both sides but Burns said he was one of a few Glory players with extra motivation after that heartbreaking loss.
"It's still fresh in my mind," he said. "I know a lot of the guys weren't a part of the long trip to Wellington (two years ago) but it still leaves a bitter taste. To lose like that when I honestly believe we had the best chances, I'm definitely using that as motivation."
Back then, defender Scott Neville scored a second-half equaliser at Westpac Stadium only for Glory to be sent crashing out of the finals in a penalty shoot-out defeat. This time, the boot is on the other foot with Phoenix, who finished the A-League season one spot behind third-placed Glory, facing the difficulty of coping with heavy travel and a significant time-zone shift.
"It's a hell of a long way to go to play a finals game and it shows how important it was for us to finish third," said Burns of Glory's additional benefit for finishing above Wellington. "It could be a massive bonus. When you're at home you go through the same routine and you're in a far more comfortable position." Burns, Neville, Steven McGarry, Todd Howarth and Chris Coyne are the only current Glory players to have featured in that penalties defeat.
"I thought we had a tremendous squad (in 2009-10) and we were unlucky against Wellington," Burns said. "The one thing that is definitely apparent in the squad this season is the depth. We've got a number of players in all positions and any manager would rather that head- ache than trying to plug holes."
Burns has called on the club's fans to reinforce the home-ground advantage by replicating the support they showed last weekend when a season-high 12,600 turned up to witness Shane Smeltz score a hat-trick in a 3-0 win over Heart.
Local clubs will do their bit for the A-League side by bringing forward by an hour their State League matches on Saturday to allow fans time to get to the Glory game, which kicks off at 5.30pm. Most first-team matches will kick off at 2pm on Saturday, with reserves at noon and under-18s at 10am.
Meanwhile, WA official Mathew Cheeseman, who correctly signalled a goal after a Smeltz header had hit a post against Heart, has been rewarded with an appointment for Sunday's A-League major semifinal second-leg match in Gosford.
"To lose like that when I believe we had the best chances, I'm definitely using that as motivation.""Perth Glory captain *Jacob Burns *