Preview: Newcastle Jets v Central Coast Mariners
The season kicks off with the re-match of last year's Grand Final and it will be fascinating to see just what these teams bring to the table.
Date: Friday August 15 Kick-off (local time): 8:00pm AEST Venue: EnergyAustralia Stadium TV and Radio: Live & Exclusive Fox Sports 3 (www.foxsports.com.au) - Match broadcast commences 7.00pm AEST (6.30pm ACST, 5.00pm AWST), Sky Sports 3 (www.skytv.co.nz) - Match broadcast commences 10.00pm NZST.
Head-to-head 14 Hyundai A-League meetings: Newcastle - 6 wins, Central Coast - 3 wins, 5 draws
Previous Hyundai A-League meeting Central Coast Mariners 0, Newcastle Jets 1, 2007/08 Grand Final, Sydney Football Stadium, February 2008
Pre-Season Cup Results Newcastle: Round 1: Perth Glory 1, Newcastle Jets 1, Hyundai Stadium, Mandurah, Saturday July 19 Round 2: Newcastle Jets 0, Adelaide United 0, Baddeley Park, Cessnock, Saturday July 27 Round 3: Newcastle Jets 0, Melbourne Victory 1, Port Macquarie, Saturday August 1
Central Coast: Round 1: Wellington Phoenix 1, Central Coast Mariners 0, Wellington, Sunday July 20 Round 2: Central Coast Mariners 3, Sydney FC 0, Central Coast, Sunday July 27 Round 3: Queensland Roar 1, Central Coast Mariners 1, Perry Park, Brisbane, Sunday August 3
Analysis The season kicks off with the re-match of last year's Grand Final and it will be fascinating to see just what these teams bring to the table in the first game of the season. Neither team showed a great deal in the Pre-Season Cup, with the Jets going winless and the Mariners missing out despite winning their past two games.
You can draw little from that epic Grand Final, which the Jets won 1-0, in terms of form for this one because the personnel on both sides have changed so much. The Jets have lost some big names, including goal scoring hero Mark Bridge, as have the Mariners and the pressure will be on the new recruits from both sides to fill the void.
The Jets will be without new Danish striker Jesper Hakansson, who is injured along with Shaun Ontong, with Jobe Wheelhouse and Ben Kantarovski coming into a 17-man squad. The Jets have not included their Olympic contingent of Jade North and James Holland, despite the fact they may get back to Australia in time for the match.
Injuries haven't been kind to the Mariners pre-season and Andre Gumprecht (knee), Dylan Macallister (ribs) and Nigel Boogaard (groin), Greg Owens (hamstring) and Mile Jedinak (groin) are all out for an indeterminate period of time with a variety of injuries.
The Mariners have promoted Pedj Bojic, David D'Apuzzo, Dean Heffernan and Andrew Redmayne back into the squad, while Andrew Clark returns from suspension and Matt Simon from the Olympics. Mark Bosnich has been released from the club for the time being.
It's really hard to determine how this match will be played with so many new faces, and not much to be gained from looking at the Pre-Season Cup performances.
The Jets will hope that new marquee signing Edmundo Zura is able to hit the ground running, and begin his affiliation with Joel Griffiths in style, while the Mariners, who are renowned for their attacking style will be relying on Nik Mrdja and Sasho Petrovski getting re-acquainted after Mrdja's horrid run with injuries.
Newcastle Jets Squad: 1.Ante COVIC (gk), 2.Adam GRIFFITHS, 7.Kaz PATAFTA, 8.Matt THOMPSON, 9.Joel GRIFFITHS, 10.Jin-Hyung SONG, 11.Tarek ELRICH, 12.Jobe WHEELHOUSE, 13.Adam D-APUZZO, 15.Jason HOFFMAN, 16.Ben KANTAROVSKI, 17.Antun KOVACIC, 18.Noel SPENCER, 20.Ben KENNEDY(gk), 23.Edmundo ZURA
*Two to be omitted
In: Jobe Wheelhouse (promoted), Ben Kantarovski (promoted)
Out: Jason Naidovski (not selected), Beau Busch (trial period ended), Jesper Hakansson (calf injury - 1 week)
Unavailable: Jade North, James Holland, Shaun Ontong (ankle - indefinite), Jesper Hakansson (calf - 1 week)
Central Coast Mariners Squad: 4. Pedj BOJIC, 5. Bradley PORTER, 6. David D'APUZZO, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 8. Dean HEFFERNAN, 9. Nik MRDJA, 10. Adrian CACERES, 13. Paul O'GRADY, 15. Andrew CLARK, 17. Matthew OSMAN, 18. Alex WILKINSON, 19. Matt SIMON, 20. Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 21. Ahmad ELRICH, 22. Sasho PETROVSKI, 30. Andrew REDMAYNE (gk)
In: Pedj Bojic (Promoted), David D'Apuzzo (Promoted), Dean Heffernan (Promoted), Andrew Clark (Returns From Suspension), Andrew Redmayne (Promoted), Matt Simon (Return from national team duty)
Out: Andre Gumprecht (Knee - Indefinite), Dylan Macallister (Ribs - Indefinite), Nigel Boogaard (Groin - Indefinite), Mark Bosnich (Triallist Period Concluded)
Unavailable: Greg Owens (Hamstring - Indefinite), Nigel Boogaard (Groin - Indefinite), Mile Jedinak (Groin - Indefinite)