Central Coast skipper John Hutchinson has ensured his final F3 derby will have a bit more spite, ripping into fierce local rivals the Newcastle Jets for their lack of success in recent years and the treatment of certain players.
In comments which are sure to rile the Jets and their fans, Hutchinson slammed the Hunter club for their treatment of club legend Joel Griffiths and accused them of being in a rebuilding phase for the last five years.
“We’ve proven that we can punch above our weight, obviously this season has been a little bit disappointing, we are trying to make the finals but if we don’t it will only be the third season in 10 that we don’t,” Hutchinson told reporters.
“This club always punches above its weight where if you look at Newcastle, who are meant to have the big community and big club mentality, but I don’t remember the last time they made the finals.
“I’m sure the fans and member up there would be very disappointed in what the club produces year in, year out.
“This season’s been a rebuilding season for us and I know Newcastle has been in a rebuilding phase for the last four years, so we’re going through one at the moment.”
While the Mariners have had their problems this season, it’s nothing on the upheaval at the Jets, who have seen half a dozen players leave the club, including 2008 championship-winner Griffiths.
“Me and Griff [Joel Griffiths] have had some great battles, he gave his heart and soul to the Newcastle Jets and it was sad to see the way he got treated and the way he got pushed out of the club,” Hutchinson said.
“They are trying to move on and trying to make the finals but obviously the fans and members will be disappointed with another poor season.
“I don’t remember who the captain is at the moment, they just turn players over.
“We try to maintain the players here, we move some players on but most of the players we move on go overseas for big money transfers to help the club move forward.
“It’s always been a good club here, you see the young players develop we don’t hold them up, we let them go, we move them overseas and I think that showed in the last Socceroos game where we had four players at one stage starting.”
Hutchinson has long been public enemy No.1 with the Jets fans and his comments will ensure a hot reception at Hunter Stadium on Saturday.
“I’ll be greeted like I’m always greeted but I think that’s because of what we’ve achieved in the past," the Mariners skipper said.
“We’ve got some great young kids coming through who are going to learn what a derby is all about and take it on board for the Mariners.
“The future is bright here, we’ve got some wonderful footballers and I know that Mossy (coach Phil Moss) and Monty (Nick Montgomery) going forward will be great for the club and the young boys coming through.”
Reflecting on his career ahead of his final F3 derby, Hutchinson said: “It’s surreal at times to think that it will come to an end.
“I’ve done this for 19 years in professional football and 10 years with the Mariners and for it to be coming to an end is a but surreal but I am looking forward to the next part of my life and the next part of my career.”