Central Coast Mariners captain John Hutchinson says his side must lift for this Sunday’s #F3Derby clash against Newcastle Jets at Hunter Stadium.
With both the Mariners and Jets struggling to find their best form early in the new season, Hutchinson says Sunday’s showdown takes on additional significance as the two clubs seek to kick-start their respective campaigns.
“It’s our fans’ biggest game and we know that,” Hutchinson said on Wednesday. “I try to explain that to every player who comes here, whether they’re old or young, that this fixture for our club and our fans is the biggest one and this is the one that we need to win.”
“We need to kick-start and breathe some life into our season, so we can’t be going up there looking for a point. We have to go out on Sunday and make sure that everyone’s on song, and that we put a good performance in, battle, and make sure that we get maximum points,” he said.
Hutchinson has been involved in many of the defining, even fabled #F3Derby moments of years gone by, and remembers his former teammate’s tackle which lit the very first #F3Derby fuse.
But, since Newcastle got the wood on the Mariners in the 2008 Hyundai A-League Grand Final, success has been slim for the Novocastrians.
“It all started season one, pre-season cup,” Hutchinson explained. “Nik Mrdja tackled [Andrew] Durante and broke his leg, and it was unfortunate for Durante because he’s a nice guy. It wasn’t the nicest tackle I’ve seen, but it kicked off in the tunnel [afterwards] and that pretty much started the rivalry.”
“Joel Griffiths is up there and we’ve had our fair share of run-ins, and I don’t expect anything to be different on Sunday.”
“There’s also been a few all-ins after the final whistle, and they obviously beat us in that Grand Final which made it a bit bigger.”
“At the moment it’s going to be a big game because both teams are at the wrong end of the table. For us at the Mariners we’re not used to that.”
“We have to make sure that we go there with our game plan, win the battle, win the game, and come back home happy that our fans are happy,” he concluded.