ALLEGATIONS of spying on closed training sessions, talk of tackles flying in and the expectation of a physical, high-octane encounter in a fevered atmosphere. Nothing raises emotions like the Melbourne derby, it seems.
On Friday, Heart coach John Aloisi fanned the flames of controversy by querying whether a person recording his side's closed-doors training session at AAMI Park was a Victory spy. Victory quickly scoffed at the suggestion, but Aloisi's question certainly pushed up the temperature before the game.
''I did see someone with a camera watching our session. I am not sure if it was Victory, but if it was it wasn't too good because it's behind closed doors. If they have got someone recording our training session, it's poor,'' the coach said.
''As soon as I started pointing, he ran off. We only get to use this ground once every two weeks whenever we play a home game … when we are here, we ask for a little bit of respect, and that way we didn't get it today.''
Aloisi's side was poor in a 2-0 loss to Central Coast Mariners last week but the coach said the team had bounced back in tough training sessions this week.
He will make one change to the starting line-up, bringing back Croatian striker Josip Tadic in place of Dylan Macallister.
''You sense it as a coach, that every single player wants to play and do well in the derby so there is not much need for motivation,'' Aloisi said.
Heart got the better of the first meeting this season when they played a high-energy, pressing game, but Aloisi said he will have to refine the approach on Saturday.
''We know that going forward they are very good, they have four front players that will cause any team problems. Victory are a little bit different now so our tactics can't be exactly the same. Mark Milligan in the midfield gives them a lot of balance so they play a little differently. But we know how we can hurt them, we know what to do against them.''
Ange Postecoglou, the Victory coach, was bitterly disappointed by his side's defeat in that round one game. ''There were 42,000 people there that night and that doesn't happen very often. We missed an opportunity that day, and that was why I was disappointed,'' he said on Friday. ''Tomorrow is another great opportunity to make some special memories for our football club, our fans, and when those come along you want to take them.''
He was complimentary about the opposition, who have been inconsistent this season.
''When they have been good, they have been really good,'' he said. ''They haven't put it together often enough this year, which is why they are where they are. But hopefully they do play at their best and we still come out on top.''
Postecoglou said he will go into the game with the same starting line-up that played out a 1-1 draw with Brisbane Roar last weekend.
■ Precocious attacking teenagers Tyler Boyd and Louis Fenton will unite from the opening whistle when Wellington Phoenix tackle the ladder-leading Central Coast Mariners on Saturday.
Boyd, 17, will make his first start of the season for the seventh-placed home team alongside 19-year-old Fenton in a new-look formation, with Belgian striker Stein Huysegems dropped and Paul Ifill absent after surgery on his ankle.
Jeremy Brockie returns from a hamstring strain that ruled him out of Sunday's 3-1 loss in Adelaide. He will fill Huysegems's frontman role with Dani Sanchez remaining as an attacking midfielder.