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Nth Qld chief Matheson: Melbourne's Muscat is a manipulator

North Queensland Fury chairman Don Matheson believes Melbourne Victory skipper Kevin Muscat manipulates games to his team's advantage. Matheson is of firm belief that Muscat is the king of mind games and hopes the referees don't get sucked in to his mental tricks and hand the Fury more bad luck when they take on the Victory at Dairy Farmers Stadium this Sunday.

''We're in a position now where we just don't need an unlucky break,'' Matheson said. ''It would be heart-breaking to lose the game on a call because of Musc's influence.

''Musc is probably the cleverest bloke in the game to manipulate a situation. He knows what to say at the right time. It's why he's been able to get away with what he has.

''In one respect - from an outsider looking in - you could respect that. But given he is playing your team, it would be heart-breaking for us for that to happen this weekend.''

Matheson believes that Muscat, who notched up his 500th league game last weekend, has the respect of the referees and is worried that he may hold sway when there are touch-and-go decisions.

''The process is that Musc has an incredible ability to be persuasive onfield, better than anyone," Matheson added.

''He's obviously clever enough to have the referees respect him.

''He's very, very clever in the way he deals with people and there's no doubt about that and that's why he is going to have such a long time in the game after he finishes football.

''He has an influence and no one can really argue that and, for me, in our position, we just hope the referees are up to the challenge of calling the game as straight as they can.''

Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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