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Nth Qld looking to shutout Gold Coast stars

North Queensland Fury will aim to shut down key players when they take on Gold Coast United this weekend.

The first time the two new A-League clubs met was in round 2 this season and United made light work of the Fury, coasting to a 5-0 victory with striker Shane Smeltz running amok (4 goals) and midfielder Jason Culina doing as he pleased.

But Fury coach Ian Ferguson insists his players have learnt from that encounter and their performances have improved out of sight since that day.

''We backed off them in the 5-nil (loss), gave them too much time, gave them too much space, too much respect and they gave us a good kick up the backside,'' he said.

''It sort of woke us up a bit to say 'hey, this is going to happen each week if you keep giving good players that', but it was a learning curve and I think we've dealt with it OK.''

Ferguson saw on the weekend that Gold Coast are definitely a beatable side when Wellington Phoenix closed down their space, opened up their own and knocked six unanswered goals into the back of the net.

Although he understands just how much quality Gold Coast has, he doesn't see why his charges cannot play a similar brand to what the Phoenix did on the weekend.

"Wellington did was shut their main men out of the game - you could just see the likes of Jason Culina and Shane Smeltz - they closed those players down,'' he added.

''Gold Coast have got quality all over the pitch ... but Wellington, they shut down their key players and when their key players didn't get going, most of them didn't.

''Hopefully we can do the same and get a result on the weekend.''

Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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