With so much on the line, we caught up with Paul Okon ahead of our final home game and #F3Derby of the season.
Just six weeks ago both these sides were right in the mix for a shot at making the top six.
Fast-forward to Round 26 and an #F3Derby which could have been a shootout for sixth-spot, has now suddenly turned into a battle to avoid bottom rung on the ladder.
But with two matches left and pride well and truly on the line, there remains plenty to play for in Gosford on Sunday afternoon.
Both sides come into this clash on the back of disappointing defeats and both sides will want to take out their frustrations on a close town rival.
Paolo in the press
“At all of our home games this season we’ve tried to give something to our supporters to take home,” Okon said. “The result hasn’t always been what we wanted but Sunday is a game that, irrespective of opponent, we need to win.
“It’s against our local rivals, a game that, if we win will see us climb away from 10th position which is something that we’re very much looking forward to.
“The message this week to the playing group has been that we are a good football team. Not too many teams after 60 minutes at Suncorp against the Roar have been 1-0 up and possibly 2-0 if Roy’s opportunity off the post goes in. We just need to perform for the whole 90 minutes. If we go close to that, then we can beat any team in the A-League.
“This game means everything to us. For many, it may define our season but we’re delighted to play the Jets at our last game at home because it puts that extra motivation in there for us.
“A win would mean a lot. I certainly didn’t come to this football club to lose matches. Sunday is very, very important but I have every confidence in the team that we will fight, we will compete, we will play our football and do everything we can to win the game.
“Monty is the captain, he’s our leader so it’s great to have him there. For him to come back on Sunday he adds a bit of calmness because he’s a player that can steady the ship but we’re going to need more than a Nick Montgomery on Sunday. We will need a match day squad of 16 players, we’re going to need 16 Nick Montgomerys and hopefully we get that on Sunday.
“We’re in a tough business where results are important, that’s something that has been really disappointing this season because our results haven’t matched up to our performances. I’m proud of the team and how they’ve approached every game and we only have to look back at last Sunday and our approach against the Roar for 60 minutes we're certainly not of a team that’s in 10th spot. We just need to maintain that for 90 minutes.
“We would love to see as many supporters coming out for our last game as possible. It’s a derby, we’ve had two derbies this season and had an outrageous number turn up for the two games in Newcastle so if you’re thinking about coming don’t think about it, just come because we need your support,” Okon said.
Central Coast Mariners squad: 1.Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 2.Storm ROUX (c), 3.Scott GALLOWAY, 5.Harry ASCROFT, 7.Fabio FERREIRA, 8.Nick MONTGOMERY (c), 9.Roy O’DONOVAN, 11.Connor PAIN, 12.Trent BUHAGIAR, 13.Kwabena APPIAH, 14.Adam BERRY, 16.Liam ROSE, 17.Josh BINGHAM, 20.Paul IZZO (gk), 21.Michael NEILL, 22.Jake McGING, 26.Steve WHYTE, 27.Lachlan WALES **two to be omitted**
Ins: 8.Nick MONTGOMERY (return from suspension), 27.Lachlan WALES (promoted)
Unavailable: 4.Jacob POSCOLIERO (quad – 1 week), 6.Blake POWELL (knee – 3 weeks), 10.Mickael TAVARES (ankle – indefinite), 23.Jake ADELSON (ACL – indefinite)Newcastle Jets squad: 2.Daniel MULLEN, 3.Jason HOFFMAN, 4.Nigel BOOGAARD (c), 5.Ben KANTAROVSKI, 6.Steven UGARKOVIC, 7.Andrew HOOLE, 8.Mateo POLJAK, 9.Aleksandr KOKKO, 11.Labinot HALITI, 12.Harrison SAWYER, 13.Ivan VUJICA, 15.Andrew NABBOUT, 16.Nicholas COWBURN, 19.Morten NORDSTRAND, 20.Jack DUNCAN (gk), 22.Lachlan JACKSON, 28.John KOUTROUMBIS, 50.Tomislav ARCABA (gk) **two to be omitted**
Ins: 9.Aleksandr KOKKO (promoted), 13.Ivan VUJICA (returns from injury), 28.John KOUTROUMBIS (returns from injury)
Outs: 10.Wayne BROWN (suspended – 1 match)
Unavailable: 1.Ben KENNEDY (gk) (achilles – season), 21.Daniel ALESSI (knee – season)
‘Legends Challenge’ - Hyundai A-League 2016/17 Round 26
Central Coast Mariners Legends vs. Newcastle Jets Legends
followed by Central Coast Mariners vs. Newcastle Jets (#F3Derby)
Date: Sunday 9 April 2017
Venue: Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
Kick-off: 3:30pm (Legends)
Kick-off: 5:00pm (Hyundai A-League)
Tickets: CLICK HERE
Gates Open: 3:00pm
Social Media: #F3Derby