Mariners hope dream start ends in nightmare for Jets

Central Coast Mariners Football Manager Lawrie McKinna has become accustomed to seeing his side being written off by outsiders, only to see it triumph time after time.

Central Coast Mariners Football Manager Lawrie McKinna has become accustomed to seeing his side being written off by outsiders, only to see it triumph time after time.

That-s why there were few eyebrows raised within the yellow and navy-s inner sanctum after last Thursday-s win over Melbourne, and McKinna is banking on a similar performance to make it two from two, when his side tackles fierce local rival Newcastle, tomorrow, Friday 14 August at Bluetongue Stadium.

“It was a great win, and while we surprised a few people, it didn-t surprise the team. If tomorrow night we get the three points then it-s a brilliant start, something we would have dreamed about, two wins after two hard games. That-s the target leading into the Sydney game,” McKinna said.

“It won-t be easy, we-ll need to be at our best to beat a good Newcastle side, but in a local derby, you don-t need to get the boys up for it. The boys are up for it and look forward to the game.”

After finding themselves grouped alongside the Mariners near the bottom of many tipsters predicted final standings, the Jets joined the Central coast in the round one winners circle, downing the Wellington Phoenix 3-2 on Sunday.

“They started well. Wellington were poor for the first twenty minutes and Newcastle deserved to be up, but credit to Wellington, they came back into it and made it a game. Newcastle had that belief and kept plugging away, and (Sean) Rooney came on and put in a great cross, although it was bad defending, it was a great finish.

“They totally deserved the win so they-ll be coming here full of confidence, so as we will be. Both teams were written off at the beginning, so whichever team comes out on top tomorrow night can prove everybody wrong after a great start to the season. It-ll be a great game, all derby games are,” said McKinna.

The Jets will head into the clash with an unchanged squad, while McKinna has been forced into one change to the squad which proved successful in Melbourne, Nik Mrdja coming in for central defender Chris Doig, who has failed to overcome a calf injury in time.

“He (Chris Doig) has had a huge influence on the team since he came in. I think his presence has given a few boys some confidence, which has spread on to others. I-m sure whichever way we go, whether it-s Boogs (Nigel Boogaard) or Pedj (Bojic) in the middle, they-ll step up and do the job Doigy was doing, and we-ll bring in either Dylan (Macallister) or Ahmad (Elrich) when we shuffle about. The squad is looking hungry and confident after a great win last week,” McKinna said.

It-s set to be a big night for defender Nigel Boogaard too, playing against his hometown club, on his 23rd Birthday.

“Boogs has been here since day one. He-s had his injury and sickness problems but just keeps getting better and better. If he keeps his body in one piece he-ll be a great player, as he has been for the club. Last week against Melbourne he was outstanding,” said McKinna.

While Boogaard will be celebrating a birthday, John Hutchinson too will be marking a career milestone, his 100th competitive appearance for the Central Coast.

“Hutch has made 100 games, after having a bad injury in year two. He can score goals, he can play anywhere in the midfield, and is a great clubman off and on the park. He-s a Maltese international and a fitting player to be the second player to get 100 games,” said McKinna.

With both clubs coming into the match on the back of first round victories, a healthy crowd at the Mariners idyllic bayside home is hoped for, McKinna issuing a call to arms to all supporters.

“The Jets will come down in numbers. The minibus chant went out the window, because they bring a few minibuses now which is great and makes the atmosphere, but hopefully the Mariners fans get behind us, and we win on the park and win with the noise off the park as well,” McKinna said.

Friday-s match between the Central Coast Mariners and the Newcastle Jets at Bluetongue Stadium marks the 20th occasion the two sides have met in all competitive fixtures – the most times that any two Hyundai A-League opponents have met each other. Before the Mariners- unforgettable 3-0 triumph over the Jets at Bluetongue Stadium in the Major Semi Final – 2nd Leg match up of the 2007/08 Hyundai A-League Finals Series, Newcastle had enjoyed a lengthy purple patch of F3 derby form that saw the Mariners winless in Hyundai A-League derby clashes for some two years.

Overall, the Mariners have tasted success on 7 occasions against their F3 derby rivals, there have been six draws, and six results going the Jets- way. A total of 38 goals have been scored in these clashes at an average of exactly 2 per game.

The Mariners first home match of the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season against local rival Newcastle Jets is this Friday, 14 August. Kick-off is at 8pm. Tickets are available online here or by phoning 132 849.

Central Coast Mariners squad: 1. Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 4. Pedj BOJIC, 5. Brad PORTER, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 8. Dean HEFFERNAN, 9. Nik MRDJA, 11. Dylan MACALLISTER, 14. Michael MCGLINCHEY, 16. Nigel BOOGAARD, 18. Alex WILKINSON (c), 19. Matt SIMON, 20. Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 21. Ahmad ELRICH, 22. Nicky TRAVIS, 23. Adam KWASNIK

In: Nik MRDJA (promoted) Out: Chris DOIG (calf)

Unavailable: Shane HUKE (knee – 4/5 weeks)

Newcastle Jets squad: 1. Ben KENNEDY (gk), 2. Angelo COSTANZO, 3. Adam D-APUZZO, 4. Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY, 5. Ljubo MILICEVIC, 7. Jin-Hyung SONG, 8. Matt THOMPSON (c), 9. Sasho PETROVSKI, 11. Tarek ELRICH, 15. Sean ROONEY, 16. Jason HOFFMAN, 17. Fabio VIGNAROLI, 19. Jason NAIDOVSKI, 20. Neil YOUNG (gk), 24. Chris TRIANTIS

In: Nil

Out: Nil

Unavailable: 6. Ben KANTAROVSKI (knee – 2 weeks), 10. Donny DE GROOT (knee – indefinite), 12. Jobe WHEELHOUSE (ankle – indefinite), 13. Shaun ONTONG (groin – 2 weeks), 18. Marko JESIC (knee – indefinite), 22. Kaz PATAFTA (back – indefinite)

Referee: Ben Williams

Mariners Memberships for the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season are now available online by clicking here or by phoning 1300 767 442.