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Friday, December 14, 2012
Heart ready for Glory A-League bullying

By Sam Lienert

Sick of being bullied and thrown off their game by Perth Glory, Melbourne Heart don't plan on letting it happen again in Saturday night's A-League clash at AAMI Park.

While both sides want to break a run of disappointing results, the ninth-placed Heart are also out to rebound from some recent bad losses to the fifth-placed Perth.

The Glory eliminated the Melbourne team from last year's finals with a 3-0 win, pounded them 5-0 in the pre-season then handed them a 2-0 defeat in Perth in round three.

Heart coach John Aloisi said the common element was Glory's physical approach causing Melbourne problems.

"They've bullied us on a number of occasions," Aloisi told reporters on Friday.

"That's not going to happen any more.

"We're quite a strong team - we've got players that know what Perth are all about.

"We're not going to go out there and try to bully them because that's not our game.

"But we'll just make sure that if they try to do it against us, we're prepared for it."

The other big danger for the Heart is star New Zealand striker Shane Smeltz, who scored six times in the club's four meetings last season.

Smeltz missed this season's round-three clash with injury.

The Heart rate their best chance of stopping him as stemming his supply.

"He has to get the service from somewhere. If we close it down before it gets to him, hopefully problem solved," veteran Heart midfielder Matt Thompson said.

With a 37-degree day forecast for Melbourne and the match scheduled to start at 5.30pm (AEDT), Aloisi said the weather would affect his team's strategy.

"We know you can't press for 90 minutes and, especially if it's (37) degrees, we're going to have to do it in patches, but we'll still try and do it," Aloisi said.

Perth, returning to the scene of last round's 1-0 loss to Melbourne Victory, will regain skipper Jacob Burns from suspension while the Heart have lost Ben Garuccio to injury.




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