Jets prepared for Trans-Tasman test

Striker Labinot Haliti explains that he and his teammates will do ‘whatever it takes’ in their sudden-death Semi-Final against the in-form Wellington Phoenix.

A lot can happen in the space of two years, just ask Newcastle Jets striker Labinot Haliti.

After departing the Hunter-based club for a European sojourn during the Hyundai A-League 2006/07 season, the 24-year-old missed out on a domestic Championship in 2007/08, a wooden spoon in 2008/09 and a successful AFC Champions League 2009 campaign.

However, in his initial two year stint with the Jets, the former Australian U/23 international was a part of two Jets squads that would go on to make back-to-back Finals Series.

And, now that the Novocastrians are deep into their fourth Finals foray, Haliti would love to get his hands on a Championship medal of his own this season.

“Yeah, of course, everyone wants that,” he said following Thursday morning-s training session at Newcastle University.

“There-s a bit of a buzz around the team, everyone-s confident, I think we-re working hard and just looking forward to the next game now. I think it-s one of the most important games of the season.”

The next challenge for Haliti and his Jets teammates will be overcoming an in-form Wellington Phoenix side at Westpac Stadium next Sunday, 7 March. The Pristina-born product today explained that he views the prospect of playing a Phoenix outfit unbeaten at the ‘Cake Tin- in their past 18 appearances as an enticing test.

“We-ve seen with the A-League in the past that anyone can beat anyone.”

“We know they-ve got a good record at home but we-ve just got to go over there confident, we-re coming back from an away win, so we just need to be positive and think positive.”

“It-s Semi-Final football so it-s anyone-s game. You just have to turn up and, like I said, be positive and go for the best result and obviously try to go through, whatever it takes,” said Haliti.

The former Kosovo refugee also took time out to praise Wellington and their accomplishments this season, pointing out that they are not the one-man team that many pundits believe, despite the impressive form of Englishman Paul Ifill.

“They-ve got a lot of good players from the goalkeeper right through to the front, so they-re not there by accident, they-ve been doing well all season and at home, like I said, they-ve got a good record. They-re a good side all around,” Haliti explained.