Matchday preview: Newcastle Jets v Central Coast Mariners

A war of words in the build up should ensure fireworks on the pitch at Hunter Stadium on Saturday night. With top-six hopes all but gone for both clubs, a victory for either would give their fans a huge lift and, more importantly, bragging rights until next season.


Saturday, 28 February 2015 

Hunter Stadium, Newcastle 

Kick-Off: 5pm (Local), (5pm AEDST)


Newcastle Jets 1. Jess VANSTRATTAN (Gk), 2. Scott NEVILLE, 3. Taylor REGAN, 8. Zenon CARAVELLA, 10. Travis COOPER, 12. Sam GALLAGHER, 13. Edson MONTANO, 16. Jacob PEPPER (C), 18. Allan WELSH, 19. Mitch COOPER, 20. Ben KENNEDY (Gk), 21. Ki-je LEE, 22. Daniel MULLEN, 26. Nicholas COWBURN, 27. Radovan PAVICEVIC, 28. Braedyn CROWLEY   

Ins 10. Travis COOPER (promoted), 28. Braedyn CROWLEY (promoted) 
Outs 5. Ben KANTAROVSKI (suspended – 1 week), 11. Andrew HOOLE (suspended – 1 week) 
Unavailable 15. Joshua BARRESI (knee – season), 17. James VIRGILI (ankle – 6 weeks) 

Central Coast Mariners 1.Matthew NASH (gk), 2.Storm ROUX, 3.Josh ROSE, 4.Jacob POSCOLIERO, 5.Zac ANDERSON, 7.John HUTCHINSON (c), 8.Nick MONTGOMERY, 10.Anthony CACERES, 11.Nick FITZGERALD, 12.Liam REDDY (gk), 14.Travis MAJOR, 16.Liam ROSE, 18.Glen TRIFIRO, 19.Matt SIMON, 20.Anthony KALIK, 23.Isaka CERNAK, 25.Eddy BOSNAR, 26.Fabio FERREIRA 

***two to be omitted***

Ins 19.Matt SIMON (promoted), 25.Eddy BOSNAR (promoted) 

Outs Nil 

Unavailable 17.Richard VERNES (shoulder – indefinite), 21.Michael NEILL (foot – indefinite)

The A-League’s original derby promises to be a highlight of a huge round 19 of the A-League, despite both sides' struggles this season.  

The build-up has been dominated by a slanging match between the two clubs, and that only adds further spice to what should be a fiery encounter. Quite simply, these two clubs don’t like each other and that should make for a ripping contest.  

The Mariners have enjoyed bragging rights over their F3 rivals this season – with a win and a draw – but Phil Stubbins’ side have showed signs of life in recent weeks and can start to restore some love from their fans by knocking off the Mariners, especially after the hand grenade lobbed by Central Coast skipper John Hutchinson this week, who slammed the Jets over a range of different issues.  

The Jets have lost Ben Kantarovski and Andre Hoole to suspension, with youngster Nick Cowburn, Mitch Cooper and Radovan Pavicevic all options to start. 

Matt Simon is back in the Mariners squad and is likely to start in attack if he can shrug off a slight injury concern.

-Newcastle are winless in seven A-League matches against the Mariners (D3 L4). 

-Central Coast Mariners are unbeaten in their last three trips to Hunter Stadium to face the Jets (W1 D2) – they’ve never gone four without defeat against them. 

-Newcastle have kept just one clean sheet this season, an A-League low. They’re the only side yet to shut out the opposition at home this campaign. 

-Liam Reddy has made more saves than any other A-League goalkeeper this season (62).

In just his third start for the club, Fabio Ferreira showed he will be an important player for the Mariners, scoring a classy brace against Sydney FC last weekend. The Portuguese flyer got in behind the Sky Blues' defence on countless occasions, something the Mariners have struggled to do all season. If he can continue to build on his combination with the likes of Anthony Caceres and Nick Fitzgerald, he promises to be a real weapon for the Central Coast.  

The Jets have relied on set-pieces to get their goals of late but will want to get more out of striker Edson Montano in this one.

John Hutchinson. The man Jets fans love to hate, this will be the Mariners skipper's last F3 derby before retiring at the end of the season. The only man left who was there right at the very start of this bitter rivalry, “Hutch” knows more than most just how much it means to both sides to taste success in this one and he’ll want his last derby memory to be a winning one. Hutchinson had some choice words for the Jets in the build-up and it will ensure a warm reception from the home fans. He will equal the A-League appearance record on Saturday, turning out for the 221st time, equalling former Jets, Heart and Sydney midfielder Matt Thompson.

The Jets have made themselves hard to beat of late with just one defeat from their last three – and that was only via a stoppage-time own goal. They pushed finals-bound Wellington Phoenix all the way last weekend, racing out to a 2-0 lead only to be pegged back late after Kantarovski saw red. The Mariners were desperately unlucky in going down to Sydney FC last time out, leading midway through the second half only to be overrun to lose 4-2. But it was easily their most eye-catching display of the season and they will hope to build on that. The two sides drew 1-1 when they last met at Hunter Stadium in November.

The Mariners are the best side in terms of shooting accuracy in the A-League, with 54 percent of their shots calling the keeper into action.

Newcastle Jets 2-2 Central Coast Mariners
After difficult seasons for both of these clubs, there have been signs in recent weeks there could be a few more positive results to come for the rest of the campaign with performances improving. With finals football realistically out of reach for both sides, they can go for broke in this one which should make for a full-blooded, entertaining contest which looks too hard to split. Bring it on!