Jets officials hoping for a vocal F3 derby crowd on Sunday

13/03/2019 Posted by admin

PASSIONATE: Jets officials are hopeful fans turn out in strong numbers for the two F3 derby games against Central Coast. Picture: Jonathan CarrollNEWCASTLE Jets chief executive Lawrie McKinna believes Sunday’s showdown with Central Coast at McDonald Jones Stadium is shaping as the most significant F3 derby since the 2008 grand final.
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“It probably is,’’ said McKinna, who coached the Mariners in their title-deciding 1-0 loss to Newcastle nine years ago.

“It’s probably the most at stake since the grand final.

“It’s a crucial game. We’re both still chasing a top-six spot and I can’t remember the last time that was the case.’’

With six rounds remaining, the Jets are seventh, three points adrift of sixth-placed Western Sydney.

The Mariners are ninth, on 19 points, and will need a minor miracle to reach the play-offs if Newcastle beat them on Sunday.

McKinna was hopeful the “reciprocal rights” arrangement between the two clubs –by which members can attend derby games at their opponents’ ground free of charge –would ensure healthy turnouts on Sunday and forthe round-26 clash at Gosford on Sunday, April 9.

“The first derby game we had [in round seven], there were 937 Mariners memberswho came up and used the deal that was set up, plus there were a few hundred other Central Coast fans there too,’’ he said.

“So it was the biggest Mariners support up here for many years.

“Obviously a lot of them willcoming back up here this week, so it’s important that we can match that support.

“And hopefully when we go to Gosford, we get more of our members using their reciprocal rights than the Mariners did. We’ve got close to 9000 members, and it would be nice to get as many of them using free entry as possible, so we can beat the Mariners’ number.’’

Occasionally in the past, clashes between the Jets and Mariners have been overshadowed by unsavoury incidents involving supporters.

But McKinna saw no need to remind spectators of their obligations, despite the controversy caused by Western Sydney fans unfurling a homophobic banner during last week’s derby win against Sydney.

“It’s not even an issue,’’ McKinna said.

“It’s just a normal game to us, although perhaps a lot more noisy –hopefully coming from Jets fans.

“But we’ve had no issues with security or crowd behaviour at our stadium all season. We just expect our fans to turn up and help create a good, noisy atmopshere, because the boys need their support.’’

Jets officials are hoping for a crowd of at least 11,000 on Sunday.

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