The class of Robbie Kruse was the difference as Melbourne Victory powered past the Newcastle Jets 4-0 at AAMI Park on Sunday night to leave the visitors stranded at the bottom of the A-League ladder.
The Socceroo recovered from a head knock early to delivery the killer blows to the Jets.
He opened the home side's account in the 10th minute and set up second-half goals for Magjen Basha (61st minute) and Andrew Nabbout (63rd). Victory's fourth was an own-goal by Matt Millar in the 87th.
It was a masterclass from Kruse, who has 75 caps for Australia and returned to the A-League this season after eight years in Germany.
Victory coach Marco Kurz agreed that Kruse was "the difference" and hoped that his gun attacker was over a hamstring injury from early in the season and would produce similar every week.
The energy and endeavour was there from the Jets, but they lacked quality - a game breaker - at crucial moments.
The visitors had 48 per cent of possession and fired four shots on target, three less than Victory.
The Jets' two big international signings, Abdiel Arroyo and Wes Hoolahan, have been sidelined for most of the season and captain Nigel Boogaard has played just three games.
The loss was the Jets' fourth in five games and leaves them at the foot of the table on nine points.
Victory climbed to equal sixth spot on 15 points alongside Adelaide.
The Jets meet runaway leaders Sydney FC at home on Friday.
The visitors were lucky to be on equal terms after seven minutes when Elvis Kamsoba broke free down the left. He found Kruse inside the box but his flick eluded Nabbout at the back post.
The Jets weren't as fortunate two minutes later. Kruse collected a ball over the top, burned past Lachy Jackson and slid a shot under Glen Moss.
Kruse had alarm bells ringing every time he touched the the ball.
The Victory talisman was seeing stars in the 24th minute after running into the shoulder of Bobby Burns, who was booked.
Both teams played at a frenetic pace, especially on the counter attack, in match that had the intensity of a final for the opening 60 minutes.
Nabbout had a couple of half chances for Victory and at the other end Jason Hoffman and Steve Ugarkovic had sights on goal.
With Burns on a yellow and Nabbout attacking down the Jets' left side, Ernie Merrick introduced Johnny Koutroumbis at the break.
The replacement created a chance for Dimi Petratos, who forced a diving save from Lawrence Thomas.
Thomas was again up to the task 10 minutes later, diving to his left to deny Hoffman, who had turned past Leigh Broxham.
The Jets were starting to gain some ascendancy.
Enter Kruse. The 31-year-old skipped across the box and unleashed a stinging shot which Moss parried away. Victory midfielder Basha reacted quickest and slotted home.
Two minutes later it was 3-0. Again Kruse provided the assist, finding Nabbout, who buried a low drive.
Victory's final goal summed up the Jets' night. Kruse played replacement Anthony Lesiotis down the touchline. The right back whipped a cross towards the back post. Millar made a desperate lunge to cut the pass off only to knock it into his own net.
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