An unlikely F3 Derby hero


A New Zealander was the unlikely hero of the F3 Derby as the Jets defeated the Mariners 1-nil at home.

A New Zealander was the unlikely hero of the F3 Derby as the Jets took first round spoils with the 1-nil victory against arch rivals the Central Coast Mariners last weekend.

The all-important moment happened in the 25th minute as striker Jeremy Brockie scored the winning goal, capitalising on the Central Coast-s mistake, defeating two defenders and poked the shot over Mariners- goalkeeper Matt Ryan.

“It was important to hit the field and prove that our previous game against Wellington Phoenix was a one-off and that we don-t intend on being beaten easily, or at all, for the rest of the season,” Brockie said.

“It was great that I made the score sheet especially against the Central Coast. We spoke as a team before the game about really trying to capitalise on their weaknesses.

“I have to pay credit to our supporting goalkeeper Matt Nash who gave me the pointer that the Central Coast-s goalkeeper Matt Ryan likes to go big on the one-on-one challenges for the ball. This gave me the chance to really profit from that.”

The F3 Derby was a game of high intensity and speed, always a battle when the two teams come together but with a crowd of 14,421 supporting the Newcastle Jets from the sidelines it was apparent that they were feeding off the energy.

“It was a massive crowd on Sunday, it was great to see. I think in the last ten minutes of the game the squadron really started to go nuts, helping us pull through. That energy and the roar from our members and fans in the crowd is priceless,” Brockie said.

Unfortunately Newcastle Jets captain Jobe Wheelhouse had to withdraw from the game due to a virus, forcing the team to restructure. Lucky for the Jets, there team is extremely adaptable; Kasey Wehrman stepped up to the plate as acting captain for the day, Ruben Zadkovich moved into the midfield and Labinot Haliti replaced Marko Jesic in attack.

“It was unfortunate and hugely disappointing that Jobe was unable to play on Sunday,” Brockie added. “He has put in such a massive effort in the pre-season and in the first couple of games of the A-League season. He did let us all know that we had his full support as he watched us from his bed.

“The depth within our team this year is remarkable. Having the ability of such flexibly in the team is a great asset. To make so many positional changes so late could be harmful but all the boys played as if they had been playing there for years.”

Round four of the Hyundai A-League 2011/12 season sees the Newcastle Jets travel to Queensland as they take on Gold Coast United. United sit below the Jets on the scoreboard, gaining only two points so far; however they are not to be underestimated.

“The Gold Coast are a strong team and have great statistics across the field. We will be focusing on our game and what we can do to improve and hopefully out-play them,” the striker said.

Round two of the F3 rivalry takes place at Bluetongue Stadium on Saturday December 10.