Preview: Central Coast Mariners v Newcastle Jets
Neither Central Coast or its F3 derby rival Newcastle have really hit their straps this season for any length of time.
Date: Friday October 24 Kick-off: 8pm local (8pm AEDT) Venue: Bluetongue Central Coast Stadium TV and Radio: Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports 2 and Sky Sport 1. Hyundai A-League club radio broadcast partner is CoastFM (96.3) Gosford and 1233 ABC Newcastle. To purchase tickets visit www.premier.ticketek.com.au.
15 Hyundai A-League meetings: Newcastle - 6 wins, Central Coast - 3 wins, Draws - 6
Previous Hyundai A-League meeting Newcastle 1, Central Coast 1, EnergyAustralia Stadium, Round 1, Friday 15, August
Past Five Games Newcastle: Round 4: Newcastle 0, Sydney FC 0, EnergyAustralia Stadium Round 5: Queensland Roar 0, Newcastle Jets 1, Suncorp Stadium Round 6: Adelaide United 2, Newcastle Jets 0, Hindmarsh Stadium Round 7: Newcastle Jets 2, Wellington Phoenix 2, EnergyAustralia Stadium Round 8: Newcastle Jets 1, Melbourne Victory 0, Energy Australia Stadium
Central Coast: Round 4: Wellington Phoenix 0, Central Coast Mariners 0, Westpac Stadium Round 5: Central Coast Mariners 2, Melbourne Victory 2, Bluetongue Central Coast Stadium Round 6: Central Coast Mariners 4, Perth Glory 1, Bluetongue Central Coast Stadium Round 7: Adelaide United 3, Central Coast Mariners 3, Hindmarsh Stadium Round 8: Central Coast Mariners 0, Wellington Phoenix 1, Bluetongue Central Coast Stadium
Analysis Neither Central Coast or its F3 derby rival Newcastle have really hit their straps this season for any length of time. The last five rounds has seen the Mariners and Jets claim one and two wins respectively and, as a result, both clubs are going into this fixture determined to build some momentum heading into the middle part of the season.
The Mariners' efforts have been hindered somewhat by injuries to key players and the casualty list didn't get any better for coach Lawrie McKinna last week when he lost Andrew Clarke towards the end of the loss to Wellington with a dislocated shoulder. Clarke joins Nigel Boogaard (concussion) and the departing Mark Bosnich, whose guest stint is over, as the players forcibly cut from the Mariners' side this week. At the same time key defender Dean Heffernan (leg), Ahmad Elrich (knee) and exciting young goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne (international duty) are all unavailable, the former two with long-term injuries.
Coming into the derby side then is Matthew Nash, David D'Apuzzo and Nik Mrdja, three players who will all be looking at putting their best feet forward after mixed starts to the campaign.
There's no doubt Central Coast can score goals though, the last five matches has seen them fire in 10 goals. But this week they're coming up against a Newcastle side that is appearing very solid defensively, having conceded just four times during the same period after shipping eight goals in two matches to the Glory and Victory during August.
That defence, ably marshalled by skipper Jade North and Adam Griffiths, will only be boosted by the guest-stint signing of potential Socceroo Mark Milligan, who joins Kaz Patafta, Daniel Piorkowski and Antun Kovacic as the players promoted to Gary van Egmond's line-up this week.
But the Jets, coming off their best win of the season against the Victory last week, have also been significantly weakened by losing Marko Jesic to international duty after the teenage star ran rings around Melbourne's defence, scoring the 82nd minute winner to boot. Jesic is joined by James Holland, Jason Naidovski and Ben Kantarovski on international duty while Shaun Ontong (ankle) and Jason Hoffman (knee) are the long-term injuries.
Despite their defensive solidity, the Jets have also struggled to score goals in the last five matches, having only put four into the back of the net as Ecuadorian striker Edmundo Zura continues to search for his first Hyundai A-League goal. He missed his best chance last week when he sent a penalty into the post against the Victory, but the Hunter Valley side's forward stocks have risen considerably this week with last-season's competition top scorer Joel Griffiths back in the starting XI.
Central Coast Mariners Squad. Matthew NASH (gk), 4. Pedj BOJIC, 5. Bradley PORTER, 6. David D'APUZZO, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 9. Nik MRDJA, 10. Adrian CACERES, 11. Dylan MACALLISTER, 13. Paul O'GRADY, 17. Matthew OSMAN, 18. Alex WILKINSON, 19. Matt SIMON, 20. Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 22. Sasho PETROVSKI, 23. Mile JEDINAK.
In. 1. Matthew NASH (Promoted), 6. David D'APUZZO (Promoted), 9. Nik MRDJA (Promoted). Out. 15. Andrew CLARK (Shoulder - Indefinite), 16. Nigel BOOGAARD (Concussion - Indefinite), 40. Mark BOSNICH (End of Guest Player Contract). Unavailable. 8. Dean HEFFERNAN (Leg - Indefinite), 21. Ahmad ELRICH (Knee - Season) 30. Andrew REDMAYNE (International Duty).
Newcastle Jets Squad. 1. Ante COVIC (gk), 2. Adam GRIFFITHS, 3. Jade NORTH (c), 6. Jesper HAKANSSON, 7. Kaz PATAFTA, 8. Matt THOMPSON, 9. Joel GRIFFITHS, 10. Jin-Hyung SONG, 11. Tarek ELRICH, 12. Jobe WHEELHOUSE, 13. Adam D-APUZZO, 17. Antun KOVACIC, 20. Ben KENNEDY (gk), 23. Edmundo ZURA, 25. Daniel PIORKOWSKI, 26. Mark MILLIGAN. * one to be omitted.
In. 26. Mark Milligan (new signing), 7. Kaz Patafta (Promoted), 25. Daniel Piorkowski (Promoted), 17. Antun Kovacic (Promoted). Out. 5. James Holland (International Duty), 16. Ben Kantarovski (International Duty), 24. Marko Jesic (International Duty). Unavailable. 14. Shaun Ontong (ankle - indefinite), 15. Jason Hoffman (knee - season), 19. Jason Naidovski (International Duty).