Newcastle Jets skipper Nigel Boogaard says he is looking forward to pulling on a Jets shirt for the first time in the F3 Derby against Central Coast Mariners on Saturday at Hunter Stadium.
The former Central Coast defender played in eight derbies during his time in Gosford and netted twice for the Mariners against the Jets in the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season.
Saturday afternoon will be the first time that Boogaard has played for his hometown in the derby and the centreback says derbies are amongst the fixtures players look forward to the most.
“As a player you buy into the local rivalry regardless of where you’re from or which club you’ve played for,” Boogaard said.
“When I was in Adelaide from day one I learned to loath Melbourne Victory.
“That’s the beauty of the players that have come in from other clubs, they’ve bought into the mentality of the Newcastle people and what the club is trying to achieve.”
The big defender said the F3 Derby is as important as ever and the Jets will be looking to restore some passion to the fixture and claim bragging rights over their local rivals.
“I think personally derbies are very important for the league,” he said.
“They have died off a little in the past few years and there doesn’t seem to be as much spice.
“So it’s important for us to restore that pride and bring that passion back to the rivalry because there is nothing better than beating a local rival.”
Boogaard says the Jets have everything in their armory they need to knock off Central Coast, however the skipper still anticipates a tough challenge.
“The season been going long enough now that everyone’s styles is coming out,” Boogaard explained. “You know which way a team’s going to play and how to counteract that.”
“They’re obviously going to come here with a lot of confidence off the back of their performances.
“But we’ll sit down and go through Central Coast and make sure we’ve got a game plan to counteract what they’re doing.”
On the back of a great show of support from Jets supporters last Saturday against Western Sydney Wanders, Boogaard says the focus against the Mariners will be giving their home fans a result they can be proud
“We really want to give our home supporters something to cheer about come the end of the game,” he explained.
“Hopefully we’ve shown enough early on for the supporters.
“We’ll fight to the end to make sure the local community are proud of what we produce on the field.
“If we can get another big crowd to the game and they’re behind us they can help us get over the line.
“I’m sure not only the boys but the coaching staff and the club will be pleased if we can get over the Mariners and bring a little bit of pride back to Newcastle and have one up over the Central Coast,” he added.