Newcastle Jets utility Jason Hoffman isn't surprised to see his old boss John Aloisi doing so well with A-League leaders Brisbane Roar, who he says are bona fide title threats.
Aloisi previously coached Hoffman at Melbourne Heart, but his stint there ended badly - following a disastrous 17-match winless streak, Aloisi was sacked, his management ambitions seemingly in tatters.
But the former Socceroo has since staged a remarkable coaching comeback.
Eyebrows were initially raised when he was appointed Brisbane boss earlier this year, but after seven rounds the Roar are top of the table and looking comfortable, and Aloisi is back in the game's good graces.
"He didn't have the best time in Melbourne but you can see, his quality's shone through with what he's done with Brisbane Roar this year," Hoffman said.
"They've played some fantastic football, it looks like they've got players like Thomas Broich and Matt McKay at their absolute best and they've got good young players like (Brandon) Borrello who've come through.
"They're definitely a threat to the league this year."
Hoffman believes the Jets can get the better of Brisbane when they meet on Saturday at Hunter Stadium.
If they can, last season's wooden spooners will go equal top of the table - a remarkable achievement given the enormous upheaval at the Hunter club since the removal of former owner Nathan Tinkler.
"We played them in pre-season and we were quite comfortable, I thought, in that game. It'll be no different - it's our home ground tomorrow, so we have to take the game to them and you'll see a different intensity from the get-go," Hoffman said.
That will be music to the ears of Aloisi, who joined a vanguard of coaches on the warpath against cynical tactics in the A-League by blasting Melbourne City for playing 'anti-football' last weekend.
Aloisi is expecting a better brand of play from the Jets, but admits it's up to sides like his to rise above opposition teams which set up to niggle and frustrate.
"They've got a better side this year in terms of the way they've been set up by Scott. They're going to make it difficult for us," he said.
"At the moment I just now have to focus on what we're doing and trying to make sure we play the style of football that we've been set out to do since the first day of pre-season.
"For us, we believe that's the winning way."
STATS THAT MATTER:
* Newcastle have won only one of their last 12 matches at home (D3 L8)
* Brisbane have won each of their last three matches against Newcastle, outscoring them 8-2 in the process
* Milos Trifunovic (Newcastle Jets) has attempted 22 shots this term; no player has managed more