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Central Coast Mariners vs Newcastle Jets A-League Preview and Team News - Mariners and Jets clash in F3 derby

Andrew Hendrie 4 Oct 2017
  • Central Coast Mariners meet Newcastle Jets on Saturday
  • Jets haven't scored an away goal in their last five competitive outings
Mariners face Jets on Saturday

Resident A-League battlers Central Coast Mariners and Newcastle Jets square off in the first derby of the 2017/18 A-League season on Saturday in Gosford.

The F3 derby has lost some of it’s ‘oomph’ over the years as the Mariners and Jets have slipped down the table and spent most of the last few seasons battling for the wooden spoon, but this upcoming clash promises to be as fierce as ever as both sides target a winning start to the new campaign.

Central Coast have been a shadow of the club that was consistently challenging for premierships during the first half of the A-League’s short history, but there’s some cause for optimism as Paul Okon has assembled quite a solid squad in preparation for a fresh tilt at finals football.

Okon swung the axe on 11 players at the end of last season as the Mariners lost more games than any other team and finished just one point above the wooden spoon. Alan Baro, the former Victory centre half, has been made the club captain and adds much-needed strength to their defence, while the signing of Asdrubal Hernandez - the Spanish forward who actually played for Las Palmas in the La Liga as soon as last season - could be the genuine class striker Mariners fans have been craving for a while.

At only 26 years of age, Asdrubal is a player in his prime, and if he acclimatises to Australian conditions, he could be a major force. Add in the speed and talents of young players such as Andrew Hoole, Daniel de Silva, Connor Pain, Trent Buhagiar and Kwabena Appiah, and there’s definite excitement potential for Central Coast this season.

Newcastle are also desperate for more success this season after going seven years without finals football, including picking up the wooden spoon in two of the last three seasons. The Jets have gone through three coaches during that time as well, with Phil Stubbins, Scott Miller and Mark Jones are copping the sack, with experienced A-League premiership winning coach Ernie Merrick taking over this season.

Merrick is a fantastic coach and the man to take the Jets forward, and the Scot has quietly put together a solid squad for this season, with Newcastle signing their first marquee since Emile Heskey with the acquisition of Venezuelan international attacker Ronald Vargas.

Goals have been a significant issue for Newcastle over the last few years - they only managed to find the net 28 times in 27 games last season - but Merrick will be hoping Vargas provides the necessary spark, with the Venezuelan a genuine No. 10 with the ability to both score and create in the attacking third. Dimi Petratos and Roy O’Donovan add more attacking options for the Jets, while young winger Joe Champness - a part-time rapper who played in the Portuguese second division last season - has been banging in goals for fun in pre-season and could become a cult star if he can continue his form into the A-League.

Both these sides will be determined to begin the season with three points in the bag as they each target improved campaigns. It’s hard to tell if anything will change for the Mariners and Jets this season and much will depend on how their overseas imports perform and adapt to Australian conditions. On paper they are quite evenly matched, but I think the Mariners have that extra spark up front that could see them poach some goals on Saturday. Mariners to launch their new campaign with a win.

Stats


  • Mariners won 2-0 over Jets in their last meeting
  • Jets haven’t scored in their last five competitive away games
  • Central Coast undefeated in their last five season openers

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Check back here on Thursday when the teams are announced.

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Central Coast Mariners vs Newcastle Jets A-League Preview and Team News - Mariners and Jets clash in F3 derby

Resident A-League battlers Central Coast Mariners and Newcastle Jets square off in the first derby of the 2017/18 A-League season on Saturday in Gosford.

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