Birighitti ready to face Mariners

Mark Birighitti is anticipating another tough test for the Jets when they take on the Mariners in Tamworth on Sunday.

Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets goalkeeper Mark Birighitti is anticipating another tough test for the Jets when they take on the Central Coast Mariners in a pre-season trial match at Scully Park in Tamworth on Sunday.

With the start of the 2013/14 Hyundai A-League season only a matter of weeks away, the Jets are expected to field close to their strongest XI, in what will be their last trial match before Round 1.

The Mariners on the other hand are likely to field a slightly understrength line-up, with a portion of their first team squad remaining in Indonesia for the final of the Menpora Cup.

However, Birighitti said he still expects a tightly-contested match between the two neighbours.

“A lot of people say they-re only friendly games, but they-re still tough games and if we can beat these teams, it-s good psychologically and mentally for the boys to know we can beat them,” Birighitti said.

“We play Central Coast on the weekend in an F3 Derby and it-s always a good rivalry with them, so I-m sure that will continue on the weekend.”

Birighitti said excitement in the Jets squad was growing steadily in the lead-up to the their season opener against Sydney FC at Allianz Stadium.

“It-s not long now, only three weeks away and the boys are pumped,” Birighitti said.

“We-ve had a few tough games in the pre-season against Sydney and Melbourne Victory and it was good to get a couple of wins against them.

“We-ll take a lot of confidence into Round 1 against Sydney and we just can-t wait to go out there and play.

“It-s been a long pre-season and all the boys are eager to get out there and perform and get off to a good start.”

Along with Jets teammates Craig Goodwin and Josh Brillante, Birighitti helped launch EA Sports- FIFA 14 at Westfield Kotara earlier this week.

“It-s always good to get out amongst the community and have a bit of fun with the young kids,” Birighitti said.

“Last time I played FIFA was probably five or six years ago, so I still need a bit more practice and I-m sure in the future I can match it with these young ones.”

Newcastle Jets v Central Coast Mariners Sunday, September 29 Scully Park, Tamworth Kick-off 2pm Tickets available HERE