On the eve of the F3 Derby

Looking back over the years of the battles with the Mariners on the eve of the next installment of the F3 Derby.

The Newcastle Jets will host archrivals the Central Coast Mariners at home this Sunday for the Rivalry Round fixture.

Being the closet two teams geographically in the A-League does play its part to fuel the fire between the clubs and many supporters live in close proximity to both heartlands.

Heralded “The F3 Derby”, the campaign for bragging rights has more history behind it than just a long stretch of highway and the Jets beating the Mariners in the 2007 - 2008 Grand Final. It is perhaps the most passionate, fierce rivalry in the league, for both fans and players alike.

When the former NSL transformed into what is now the A-League competition many Newcastle United Jets fans became faithful to the new franchise of the Central Coast. This alone heightens the loyalty of Jets fans around the Hunter whenever the Mariners step foot onto Novocastrian soil to this day.

In what promises to be an unforgettable clash, supporters will be watching out for Mariners recruit Stuart Musialik, who was signed to the Central Coast in July. Although he departed from the Jets after the 2007/08 season to join Sydney FC, he is considered a local who was born and bred in Newcastle. His talent was developed by the Jets, under the former franchise the Newcastle Breaker-s and then the Jets.

Jets stalwart, Tarek Elrich, always looks forward to the Derby match, which brings back the great memories he has of the Jets Championship win against the Central Coast. This game however, will bring more than he bargained for when his long standing friendship with Musialik gets tested, as they go head to head.

“I never thought I would see him playing for the Mariners as they are such rivals of Newcastle. It will be interesting having to play against one of my best mates in such a heated game,” Elrich said.

“But at the end of the day it is a game and regardless of who Stu used to play for, on Saturday I will treat him like any other Mariner. It will probably push me harder knowing that he has crossed to the dark side.”

A true Jets player, Elrich will let his feeling-s be known to the Jets old boy.

“Needless to say I will be giving him a fair bit of grief, on and off the field now that he is wearing yellow and blue,” laughs Elrich.

While it-s impossible to foresee the outcome of this weekend-s match, the head to head stats don-t give too much away either.

If anything can be guaranteed it-s the fact the Jets have brought out all stops this week to ensure their members can claim local honours in the most anticipated game for round three.

Get to the next chapter in the F3 Derby. Go to PROticket to secure your ticket.

Join in the conversion on twitter by using the hashtags #f3derby, #HALjetsccm and #goJets.

View the boys tackling the F3 Derby video here: