Hyundai A-League preview: Mariners v Jets

End the season on a high and keep your fiercest rivals down over the off-season. That’s the opportunity awaiting the Mariners and Jets in Saturday’s season-ending F3 Derby in Gosford.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Central Coast Mariners v Newcastle Jets

Central Coast Stadium, Gosford

Kick-Off: 5:15 PM (Local) (5:15 PM AEST)

Referee: Jarred Gillett

Assistant Referee 1: Andrej Giev

Assistant Referee 2: James Cleal

Fourth Official: Stephen Lucas

TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 5:00pm (AEST) and Sky Sport 4 (New Zealand)

Radio Broadcast: Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live. Coast FM 96.3 (Central Coast)

Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #F3Derby

To purchase tickets visit 

Central Coast Mariners squad: 1.Paul IZZO (gk), 3.Josh ROSE, 4.Jacob POSCOLIERO, 5.Harry ASCROFT, 6.Mitch AUSTIN, 7.Fabio FERREIRA, 8.Nick MONTGOMERY (c), 9.Roy O’DONOVAN, 10.Luis GARCIA, 12.Trent BUHAGIAR, 15.Brad McDONALD, 16.Liam ROSE, 17.Francesco STELLA, 19.Josh BINGHAM, 21.Michael NEILL, 22.Jake McGING, 28.Matthew FLETCHER, 30.Adam PEARCE (gk)

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 1.Paul IZZO (gk) (return from illness), 8.Nick MONTGOMERY (c) (return from injury), 12.Trent BUHAGIAR (promoted)

Central Coast Mariners captain Nick Montgomery.

Outs: 40.Tom Heward-Belle (GK) (not selected) 

Unavailable: 2.Storm ROUX (fractured fibula – season), 13.Alastair BRAY (GK) (torn meniscus – season)

Newcastle Jets squad: 1.Mark BIRIGHITTI (Gk), 2.Daniel MULLEN, 3.Jason HOFFMAN, 5.Ben KANTAROVSKI, 6.Cameron WATSON, 7.Enver ALIVODIC, 8.Mateo POLJAK, 10.LEONARDO, 12.Andy BRENNAN, 16.Steven UGARKOVIC, 17.Radovan PAVICEVIC, 19.Morten NORDSTRAND, 20.Ben KENNEDY (Gk), 22.Lachlan JACKSON, 24.Nicholas COWBURN, 28.Ryan KITTO

Ins: 17.Radovan PAVICEVIC (promoted)

Matt Sim fights for the ball with Radovan Pavicevic.

Outs: 4.Nigel BOOGAARD (suspended – 1 match)

Unavailable: 11.Labinot HALITI (knee – season)



Contrary to the usual simmering tension, both teams have anticipated this F3 Derby as an opportunity for relief.

The end of the season marks a chance to begin rectifying their respective situations with the Mariners bound for the wooden spoon and Newcastle missing a sixth straight Finals Series.

Jets fullback Jason Hoffman looks on following his side's 6-1 loss to Perth Glory.

Several players could be playing for contracts but it’s the badge, shirt and supporters in the stands that should be at the forefront of their interests come Saturday.

Central Coast can square the ledger for the season with a win on their own patch, although it was in Gosford that the Jets nicked a 1-0 win through Steven Ugarkovic back in February.

That result ended an eight-year winless run on the Coast and put Scott Miller’s men within four points of the top six with six games remaining.

However, a run of just one draw across the next five games – the same recent record the Mariners boast for this match – has scuppered any chance of post-season involvement.

Though their fate has been sealed for some time, the home side can end on some level of celebration with a fifth and most important win of the campaign.

Mariners skipper Nick Montgomery leads his side out in Gosford.

Finishing in front of their own fans will be a fillip but Newcastle’s admirable display away to Brisbane Roar last round shows they aren’t ready to give it away just yet.


• Not since the 2008 finals have the Central Coast Mariners mustered back-to-back wins against the Newcastle Jets in the Hyundai A-League.

• There have been just six goals scored in the last five F3 Derbies, with neither side finding the back of the net more than once in any of those matches.

• The Mariners have conceded more goals in the second half of games than seven Hyundai A-League teams have conceded in the whole campaign (42).

• Jets gloveman Mark Birighitti (96) has made more saves than any other keeper so far this Hyundai A-League season at a save percentage of 71.6%, the best of any player who’s faced at least 220 shots.


While this fixture has produced few goals in recent times, a release from expectation should enable greater freedom going forward.

Newcastle have the most room to improve given their competition-low average of less than a goal per game. Scott Miller’s side have only scored more than a single goal on five occasions this term.

Ryan Kitto failed to convert a good chance to put the Jets two clear in Brisbane last round but looked lively in flanking Morten Nordstrand.

Jets midfielder Ryan Kitto on the ball during his side's 3-1 win over the Phoenix.

Kitto, Nordstrand and defensive-minded utility Ben Kantarovski are the only current squad members to have reached two goals following the mutual termination of Milos Trifunovic’s contract.

In the visitors’ favour is the leakiness of Central Coast’s defence, which is seeking to secure a first clean sheet at the final attempt.

Luis Garcia artfully headed home a well-constructed move away to Western Sydney last Friday but the wooden spooners rarely troubled their higher-ranked opponents.

A reasonably secure Newcastle won’t be easy to pierce either, though spearhead Roy O’Donovan should receive opportunities to open his F3 Derby account.

Roy O'Donovan


Luis Garcia. The former Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Liverpool man this week revealed the F3 Derby will all but certainly be his last as a player in Australia.


Central Coast Mariners: LLDLL

Newcastle Jets: LLDLL


Central Coast Mariners 2-3 Newcastle Jets