Melbourne Victory player Maximilian Beister.
Melbourne Victory player Maximilian Beister. JULIAN SMITH

Muscat agrees to cut refs some slack

MELBOURNE Victory manager Kevin Muscat has agreed to tone down his sideline behaviour and be on better terms with referees.

The former Socceroo has a history of run-ins with the officials and was fined $5000 last month after being critical of the umpiring in an FFA match.

But he has promised he's now on their side.

"There's been some decisions this season that, okay, people have made mistakes. It's been magnified because those mistakes have resulted in goals,” he said ahead of the Victory's clash with the Newcastle Jets tomorrow night.

"It might be a bit rich hearing it from me, but they've got a job to do that's very, very difficult.

"Maybe we need to - and I'll lead from the front - take a little backward step and let them get on with the job.”

Muscat credited a meeting with A-League boss Greg O'Rourke, who has been visiting clubs, with his change of heart.

"I embraced it,” Muscat said. "The fact he made an effort to come to Melbourne, sit down and have some lunch - I thought it was unbelievably healthy.”

So too are the Victory's stocks for the clash with the Jets, with Max Beister arriving, Marco Rojas returning from international duty with New Zealand and James Troisi back from injury to form a formidable combination for the hosts.

Newcastle will arrive at AAMI Park without a win in its past five matches, not to mention Aleksandr Kokko (jaw) and ex-Victory winger Andrew Nabbout (ankle) due to injury.

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