Central Coast Mariners midfielder Tom Hiariej is welcoming the end of a long pre-season and can’t wait to do battle with the Newcastle Jets on Saturday night. Kick-off is 5:35pm at Central Coast Stadium.
After Tuesday’s session at the Central Coast Mariners Centre of Excellence, Dutch midfielder Tom Hiariej spoke with media about his excitement of debuting in the #F3Derby.
Having played over a decade in the Eredivisie, the former FC Groningen midfielder brings a wealth of experience to the Yellow & Navy alongside his fellow countryman Wout Brama.
Although Hiariej knew nothing of the fierce battle between the Central Coast Mariners and Newcastle Jets before arriving in the Hyundai A-League, the 29-year-old says that the excitement around this fixture is clear and can’t wait to take on the Jets in his side’s opening round.
“After three and a half months of pre-season I can’t wait for Saturday,” Hiariej said. “The boys in the change room are really excited to kick-off with the #F3Derby so I am looking forward to it and I hope the supporters can turn up in numbers.
“I can’t wait to make my debut at Central Coast Stadium in the #F3Derby, to start the season with a win over the Jets would be great,” Hiariej said.
When asked about the Mariners supporters, Hiariej thanked them for their support, which has helped him settle in to the Central Coast.
“I love it here on the Central Coast,” Hiariej said. “Beautiful weather, the team is going great this pre-season so it’s been great so far.
“The fans have welcomed me with open arms, lots of them write to me on social media which is really cool so they’re really nice and I hope that I can give something back,” Hiariej said.
Indeed this will be Hiariej’s first #F3Derby, the former Netherlands youth international is no stranger to the hostile vibe of a derby having played in the ‘Derby of the North’ between his former club FC Groningen and their local enemies SC Heerenveen.
“I lived and played in FC Groningen and our derby was with SC Heerenveen. The day before training we had thousands of supporters on the pitch, there were fireworks and a special feeling going into that one. On Saturday, I can’t wait to experience that derby feeling,” Hiariej said.
During the Hyundai A-League off-season, Paul Okon has bolstered his midfield stocks with the addition of Wout Brama & Daniel De Silva, two players who Hiariej is enjoying playing alongside.
“Every day we train the team gets better and better. We are improving every day and we can’t wait for the season to begin.
“The last few pre-season games have been really good, Danny [De Silva] and Wout [Brama] are starting to combine well so if we can carry that into the season I know we can make a difference,” Hiariej said.
Saturday, 7 October 2017
Hyundai A-League Round 1
Match: Central Coast Mariners vs. Newcastle Jets
Venue: Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
Tickets: CLICK HERE
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS AUSTRALIA
Hash-tag: Join the match conversation using #F3Derby & #CCMFC