The F3 Derby will add another chapter to its story on Saturday night as the Central Coast Mariners play host to the Newcastle Jets in what could be the most important local derby in recent memory. Our Mariners sit treacherously in the last finals qualifying position with the Jets breathing heavily down their necks in 7th, and with only 5 weeks of the regular season to go, a win for both sides will go a long way to deciding the top six.
After a midweek win in the Asian Champions League, Phil Moss' men will be riding high on confidence, but an enigmatic Jets outfit will provide a stern test on the night, and go a long way to showing whether the ACL victory truly galvanised a team in need of a turn in fortune.
The Form Book:
The two traditional rivals have met on 31 occassions, with the Central Coast holding the advantage in the results department, having won 11 of the matches in contrast to the Jets nine. 11 draws have been played out between the two.
Last Time They Met:
Absolute screamers from midfielder Anthony Caceras and striker Daniel McBreen, in what would be his last game for the yellow and navy, helped the Mariners to a 3-0 victory over the Jets at Central Coast Stadium. The Coast ran riot in the first half, with Matt Simon's timely header just before the interval giving the Mariners their deserved three goal advantage, which they then held tight to in the second stanza to record the equal biggest win by either side in the Derby.
The Game Changer:
The god's have provided the stage, and now its up to Mitchell Duke to take it. On his day, the striker will hassle opposition defences into schoolyard mistakes and provide composed finishes from anywhere in the 18 yard box. Since his national team call-up midway through last year, however, the Duke of old, the Duke the fans chant for and the Duke the team needs has been hiding, and a strong performance in front of goal from the fringe Socceroo will go a long way to settling the tie in favour of the Yellow and Navy.
It's never easy to call a result against your team, but this week will provide no test to my moral allegiance, as I like our Central Coast Mariners for a 2-0 win at home. The Jets are a tough team to tip as they have been rocks and diamonds all season, and with the huge win midweek in our ACL fixture, its hard to look past the Mariners for a comfortable win.
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