Match Preview: Jets kick-off season with F3 Derby

The season is finally back.

This Sunday sees football return to McDonald Jones Stadium after a very long off-season, as the Newcastle Jets host rivals Central Coast Mariners for Round One of the Isuzu UTE A-League season.

It’s been a storied past between the two clubs and there’s no better way to begin the season than with the F3 Derby.

We’ve broken down everything you need to know heading into this Sunday’s bout.


Date: Sunday, 21 November

Kick-off: 4:05pm

Gates open: 3:00pm

Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium

How to Watch: Paramount+



Since: 2005

Played: 53

Jets: 18

Mariners: 17

Draw: 18

More: Top 5 F3 Derby wins


For many of our players this season, this match not only marks their first A-League match as a Jet, but also their first ever appearance in the Derby.

Based on the team of 16 players that featured in our previous FFA Cup outing, only five have played for us in the rivalry before – Jason Hoffman, Jack Duncan, Angus Thurgate, Jordan O’Doherty and Valentino Yuel – while Sam Silvera has also played during his time with Central Coast.

With an excited crowd of fans from both regions, expect the team to lift with the enthusiasm and passion as they run out for the big match.

Sunday’s meeting will also be the sixth time we’ve played the Mariners in our season’s opening match.

Across those games, our team has only managed a victory on one occasion, which happened to be a 5-1 victory, and have drawn twice, however this will only be the second time we have hosted.

Arthur Papas and his new look team will be focused on adding another victory to that record to not only retain bragging rights, but more importantly, to kick off the season on the right track.

More: Top 5 Round One performances


It’s always nice to start the season in front of a home crowd, particularly after the COVID affected seasons that have the community has endured over the past years.

In years of old, Jets fans have been treated to a few first round spectacles at McDonald Jones Stadium, but haven’t been able to watch an opening match live in over five years.

Sunday’s match will be just the seventh time we’ll host Round One since the A-League’s inception in 2005 with our last home opener ending in a 1-1 draw against Adelaide United in 2016.

Alternatively, the Mariners have typically performed well in their first game, particularly when playing away from home.

From their 16 Round One matches, the Central Coast have played 10 away, and from that, have only lost three match-ups.

In stating that, the last time they started their season and won away from the Coast, was back in 2010 against the Melbourne Heart (now Melbourne City).



Daniel Penha (Newcastle Jets)

He grabbed all the headlines from the FFA Cup Play-off following a terrific free-kick goal, and our Brazilian, Daniel Penha, will once again be someone to look out for this Sunday.

Typically playing in a roaming attacking midfield role, Penha troubled Western United’s defence often and fired off multiple threatening shots.

While the little maestro is dangerous in the shooting department, his passing should also be an area of concern for our rivals.

Beni NKololo (Central Coast Mariners)

The lone goal-scorer in their FFA Cup match last weekend, Frenchman Beni NKololo started his Australian career well.

The 25-year-old midfielder has spent all his career in the second division of France before now but will offer a certain calm and composure to the middle of the park for the Mariners.

His battle with our midfield will be one to look out for this Sunday.


The F3 Derby is arguably the most competitive in the league, and the stats prove it.

Since 2005, the teams have played 53 competitive games and the records are almost identical – 18 wins for the Jets, 18 draws, and 17 wins for the Mariners.

To make it even more amazing, the goalscoring records are almost identical too – 64 for the Jets and 63 for the Mariners. The only thing separating the two teams’ record, is the 2008 A-League Grand Final.

If Sam Silvera takes to the field this weekend, he will also become one of the few players who have featured for both clubs’ in the Derby. Mariners’ goalkeeper Mark Birighitti is another name on that list as too was former captain Nigel Boogard.

Matt Simon currently sits at the all-time goalscorer in matches between the two sides with nine goals. He’ll become the first every player to hit double digits if he manages a goal on the weekend, while the next closest was Roy O’Donovan with eight goals.

Having won our last match at the back end of the 2020/21 season, we would need to win the next four derbies to equal the record for most consecutive wins which we created from 2017 and 2019 when we won five straight.