The Hyundai A-League season kicks off in just 22 days and fans don’t have to wait long for the year’s first #F3derby with Central Coast Mariners hosting Newcastle Jets in round one.
Although if you’re in Mudgee on Saturday, the two teams meet in a pre-season clash at the Glen Willow Regional Sporting Stadium.
The ‘F3 derby’ is an original Hyundai A-League rivalry with both clubs foundation members when the competition formed in 2005.
The real estate which connects the two cities is now called the ‘M1’ which has seen calls for the derby to be dubbed the ‘M1’ derby but regardless of the name, this contest has seen some cracking matches.
A badly broken leg suffered by Jets defender Andrew Durante following a shocking tackle by Mariner Nik Mrdja in the first ever match between the sides is widely considered the catalyst for the intense rivalry.
The Newcastle Jets’ 1-0 grand final triumph over the Mariners in the 2008 Hyundai A-League decider has perhaps given the Novocastrians bragging rights, although the Central Coast lead the overall head to head.
Round 4: 2013/14
Jets 2 CCM 2
The Jets entered this clash failing to find the net in their opening three matches and were desperately short on confidence.
But goals just after half time to Scott Neville and an own goal from Justin Pasfield put the Jets well on their way in front of a 14,000 strong home crowd.
Mariners boss Graham Arnold changed his side’s midfield shape with half an hour remaining and it paid immediate dividends with Marcos Flores netting in the 65th minute to set up a thrilling finale.
The visitors dominated possession in the last twenty minutes and were eventually rewarded nine minutes from time with veteran Mile Sterjovski on hand to smash home the equaliser from close range to share the spoils in the opening derby for the season.
Round 3: 2012/13
Jets 2 CCM 1
It was Ryan Griffiths who got the hosts up and running in the 5th minute from the penalty spot after Emile Heskey was felled in the box.
The former England international then doubled the Jets’ advantage from close range on the hour mark after being teed up by winger James Virgili.
Tempers threatened to boil over in the second half with a number of niggly fouls creeping into the contest.
But the Mariners got themselves back into the contest in the 72nd minute through Bernie Ibini who calmly slotted the ball home after a neat set up from Michael McGlinchey.
The visitors pressed hard for an equaliser in the final 10 minutes and were desperately unlucky not to salvage a draw in stoppage time after having a goal disallowed in the 96th minute.
Mariners defender Patrick Zwaanswijk looked to have levelled the scores after nodding home a header from a free kick but was controversially ruled off side – a decision which appeared harsh on the Dutchman.
Major Semi Final (Both Legs) 2008
Jets 2 CCM 0 |CCM 3 Jets 0
The two best sides over the course of the 2007/08 Hyundai A-League season met in the major semi-final for the chance to progress straight to the Grand Final.
Jets hosted the first leg of the tie at a packed Hunter Stadium and got off to the perfect start with Adam Griffiths putting the Novocastrians ahead in the 22nd minute.
Mariners had a golden chance to level the scores just minutes later via the penalty spot but John Aloisi sent his effort wide of the target.
The visitors were left to rue the miss with Hyundai A-League golden boot winner Joel Griffiths converting a late penalty to give the Jets a 2-0 win heading into the return leg.
Mariners were widely written off heading into the second leg but got themselves back into the contest with Adam Kwasnik giving the hosts a 1-0 lead heading into half time.
They continued to press in the second half and levelled the tie with 15 minutes remaining via a clinical Sasho Petrovski strike.
Neither side was able to break the deadlock in the closing stages and extra time was required to see who would progress directly to the decider. The hosts had all the momentum and with a parochial home crowd behind them they remarkably went ahead when Petrovski netted his second in the 95th minute.
The Jets pushed to level the tie in the final twenty minutes but failed to crack the Mariners defence, leaving the Gosford-based club to celebrate a stunning result.
Grand Final 2008
Jets 1 CCM 0
After the Mariners’ stunning comeback in the major semi final just two weeks prior there was plenty of feeling heading into the Grand Final (and on the trains jammed full of fans of both sides coming down the Newcastle line).
Newcastle’s Joel Griffiths’ picked up a yellow card in the early stages to set the tone for a physical contest in front of 36,000 fans at Allianz Stadium.
The Jets dominated possession the opening 45 minutes but lacked penetration in the final third against a well-organised Mariners defence.
The match was bereft of clear cut opportunities and it took a mistake from Mariners and Socceroos legend Tony Vidmar for the Jets to break the deadlock in the 64th minute.
Vidmar was dispossessed on the half way line by Mark Bridge and the Jets striker took full advantage, slotting the ball past a despairing Danny Vukovic.
The Mariners pushed hard for an equaliser in the closing stages and were unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty in the 94thminute when the ball appeared to strike Jets midfielder James Holland’s hand in the penalty area.
Mariners players were furious with the decision and Danny Vukovic was sent off in the aftermath. The Jets managed to hang on though and claim their maiden Hyundai A-League title.