Gold Coast coach Miron Bleiberg was trying to be modest when he told club owner Clive Palmer his team would thrash North Queensland 4-0 in Saturday night’s A-League clash at Skilled Park.

Bleiberg would’ve been right if the match had stopped in the 63rd minute, by which time New Zealand international Shane Smeltz had bagged four goals.

But with Tahj Minniecon adding to the rout in the 79th minute, the high-flying Gold Coast triumphed 5-0 to post victory in their first home game and stay on top of the competition, while the listless Fury are yet to notch a win.

“I tried to be modest but I told Clive four (goals),” Bleiberg said after the match.

In a bizarre decision, it was Joel Porter who secured man-of-the-match honours, despite Smeltz cleaning up on the scoreboard.

While acknowledging the terrific effort of Smeltz, who grabbed three goals in a scorching nine-minute period in the second half in front of 7,526 vocal fans, Bleiberg was happier to talk about his side’s defence and cohesion.

Bleiberg made five changes to the starting side which defeated Brisbane Roar 3-1 last weekend and was missing star defender Adam Griffiths, who has been lost to Saudi champions Al Shabab.

“I’m proud more of the fact we kept a clean sheet,” said Bleiberg.

“I think that’s the strength of the team, we’re workman-like.

“We have 23 new players – no less and no more – and we gelled because we did the homework in the pre-season.”

Smeltz, the reigning Johnny Warren Medallist, has now scored five goals in just two matches this season.

“I haven’t scored a hat-trick in A-League so to score four is an amazing thing for me,” the 27-year-old said.

North Queensland, despite the recruitment of Socceroos defender Shane Stefanutto, were powerless to shut down a rampant United outfit.

“Gold Coast outplayed us in every department,” coach Ian Ferguson lamented.

“I think we actually contributed to three of their goals. I’m very, very disappointed.”

In the 29th minute Smeltz broke free of the defence and calmly slotted the ball past goal-keeper Paul Henderson after taking a long ball from Culina to start his golden run.

The former Wellington Phoenix star had a chance to extend Gold Coast’s 1-0 lead just before the break but his close range header from a pinpoint Michael Thwaite cross was well saved by Henderson.

But Smeltz would not be denied. He put his team ahead 2-0 with a 54th minute penalty goal after Beau Busch brought down Thwaite in the box.

In the 62nd minute Smeltz latched onto a neat Porter through-ball and fired at goal. The ball deflected off Busch and went past the despairing Henderson.

Just seconds later Smeltz had his quadruple. Steven Fitzsimmons sent the ball to Smeltz, who pivoted and fired low and hard into the right corner of the net.

To add salt into the Fury’s wounds, Jason Spagnuolo suffered a hamstring injury and will miss up to two weeks.

© AAP 2018

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The Crowd Says (20)

  • Roar Pro

    August 17th 2009 @ 2:54pm
    drew777 said | August 17th 2009 @ 2:54pm | ! Report

    Smeltz IS the best striker in the A-League. Hands down. He would sell for over a million AU easily.
    Might even push towards $2 mil mark, dare I say it.

    I was disappointed with Fowler’s performance…another flop like Aloisi in his Sydney debut season?

  • August 17th 2009 @ 3:07pm
    Towser said | August 17th 2009 @ 3:07pm | ! Report

    Doesnt anybody find a strange irony in the fact that a brand new club 2 games into the season,has already sold one player & is theres talk of another transfer in Smeltz. This is usually the domain of well estabilished clubs(transfers) not a club wet behind the ears.

  • Roar Guru

    August 17th 2009 @ 3:15pm
    Pippinu said | August 17th 2009 @ 3:15pm | ! Report

    now that you mention it…the number of transfers has started to go up the last 6 months or so (compared to the first full three seasons of the A-League) – so maybe GCU is riding that wave.

    Palmer’s public pronouncements have given the impression that he is absolutely clueless – but he could have some good people hired and working for him in the background.

    One thing he would know – money can be made (from transfers), if you have the right people behind you.

    On one level – this makes a bit of sense – people don’t become billionaires by throwing away their money – this could be his way of telling us all: if you thought I was going to blow my money on a football club for the hell of it, you were wrong.

  • August 17th 2009 @ 3:33pm
    Towser said | August 17th 2009 @ 3:33pm | ! Report


    There was an article in last Sundays paper(the Sunday Mail) on QLD’s richest men. First its Clive Palmer at 6.23 billion then daylight to the next at just over 1 billion. In the article about him those who have worked closest to him indicate that he doesnt do anything without knowledge. THey talk about his core mining business but also a stud he has in Qld & of course GCU. Now that knowledge may not be the football knowledge that we have ie fom the passion angle etc but from a business angle. So he takes the info needed to create success as seen in his eyes. So if he sees 7000 crowds as ok presently & publically states so & realises that you can make a quid on the side by selling players,so what. I think as you may have indicated he’ll get another one. Not my way of seeing doing things,but he puts up the dough,runs the show.
    Just hope as you said he doesnt run from the show. Maybe by making a quid from his business angle perspective might just stop him doing that. Who knows?

  • Roar Guru

    August 17th 2009 @ 3:41pm
    Pippinu said | August 17th 2009 @ 3:41pm | ! Report

    good post.

    If what we’re hearing about Smeltz is true – that could be $3 mill he has made barely two rounds in to the season.

    At this rate, he could end the season not having spent a single cent from his own pocket in start up costs!!

    Of course, that’s a big hole he has to fill, and that’s the flip side of the coin – but still, if a half decent striker is looking for a job, and he knows Culina’s behind him feeding him inch perfect balls, don’t worry – they’ll have a think about coming!!

    Here’s a question for everyone. Assuming Smeltz’s replacement would have to be an ANZ player – who’s out there that fits the bill? couple of aussies in the Balkans available for loan? think about it, upfront payment to the club as a loan fee is outside of the salary cap – part payment of salary within the cap – that’s the way a big successful club would be working things out.

  • August 17th 2009 @ 4:28pm
    onside said | August 17th 2009 @ 4:28pm | ! Report

    Towser and Pippinnu
    this transfer caper is worthy of an article
    That said,I am hard pushed believing Clive Palnmer looks at the bottom line.
    Transfer fees are peanuts to the man. I think he wants a successful team
    first and foremost ,then he wants the team to strut their stuff in Asia.Clive
    owns a couple of 727’s that he and his staff use to fly around Australia and
    China where he does a lot of business. He is unbelievably genorous in a
    quiet way,having put those planes at the disposal of charities .The guy is
    an absolute big picture operator.He owns Queensland Nickel who are the
    major sponsors of NQ Fury.I think he sees football as a fun (albeit serious)
    outlet.Clive could buy an EPL team.Its fantastic he is involved in the A League

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