Sydney FC get set for another Bluetongue bolter

When it comes to rivalries there aren’t many in the A-League that are fiercer than the one that exists between Sydney FC and the Central Coast Mariners.

When it comes to rivalries there aren’t many in the A-League that are fiercer than the one that exists between Sydney FC and the Central Coast Mariners.

Over the years this local derby has produced some classic encounters and it’s shaping up as another blockbuster this Saturday when the two teams face off for the first time in 2009/10.

“They’re always big games,” said Sydney FC forward, Alex Brosque.

“They (Central Coast) are our closest rivals. Every game the past couple years has ended up with a lot of goals, a lot of cards, a lot of action. This year probably won’t be any different.”

The last three contests between the Mariners and Sydney at Gosford have seen a total of 17 goals and three red cards, stats that should whet the appetite of both sets of fans, as well as the neutrals.

Think back to December 2007 and Sydney’s 5-4 win over the Mariners at Gosford, where Ufuk Talay’s penalty secured the points five minutes into injury time in a contest that is rightly regarded as one of the best Hyundai A-League matches ever played.

That was followed by another victory for the Sky Blues at Bluetongue Stadium last August when they played the last 25 minutes with only ten men but still managed an unlikely 3-2 result thanks to a Shannon Cole’s free kick nine minutes from time.

The last game between the two teams in Gosford last December ended in similarly dramatic fashion. John Aloisi had levelled proceedings mid-way through the second half with a second-chance spot penalty but a Mile Jedinak penalty in the 91st minute broke Sky Blue hearts and ensure the points stayed with the home team.

Brosque believes the closeness of the contests is a result of the strong sense of rivalry between the sides.

“That in itself creates a lot of talking points in the game,” the 26-year-old explained. “We don’t go out there purposely to do it, but with two teams so fired up and so eager to try and beat each other, I guess it’s just going to happen.

“Leading up to the game we’ll point out (to the younger players) that these games are a little bit different,” he added. “Everyone has to step up and be a little bit more focused to make sure they’re ready to go.”

This weekend’s round-3 match kicks-off at Bluetongue Stadium at 3:00pm on Saturday.