FORMER Jet Andrew Hoole will have to wait until the new year to play his maiden F3 derby as a Mariner, with a carry-over suspension ruling the winger out of what shapes as an explosive start to the A-League season.
Hoole joined arch rivals the Central Coast in June after a less-than-amicable departure from the Jets.
The 23-year-old flyer has been one of the Mariners’ stars of the pre-season. He is their leading goal-scorer with seven, including one in a 2-0 win over the Jets in July.
However, a yellow card Hoole received playing for the Jets in a 2-0 loss to Sydney in the final round last season means he will be in the stands when the new campaign kicks off in 10 days.
His 60th minute booking – it was unclear if the card was for a tackle on Michael Zullo or kicking the ball away – was his eighth of the season and incurred a one-week suspension.
Under FFA rules, penalties carry over to the following season and must be served in an A-League game, not a friendly or FFA Cup fixture. The second F3 derby is in Newcastle on January 9.
“It is frustrating because it is a suspension that he didn’t incur playing for us,” Mariners coach Paul Okon told The Herald on Tuesday.
“It is disappointing for us but more so Hooley because it would have been against his old club and the first game of the season. You work ever so hard in pre-season looking forward to that first game.”
While Hoole will be missing, the return to Gosford of volatile Jets striker Roy O’Donovan and the likely appearance of former Newcastle player-of-the-year Ben Kennedy in goals for the Mariners will ensure their is plenty of spice in the league’s original grudge match.
O’Donovan lit the wick for an explosive derby on his first day at the Jets.
"If we got the Mariners in round one, it would be the perfect draw for me," O’Donovan said. “I have had a bit of controversy in my career. It doesn't bother me in the slightest.”
Jets chief executive Lawrie McKinna hopes a large contingent of Newcastle fans make the trek south for a “very important” game.
“Jets members have reciprocal rights to the games against the Mariners in Gosford,” McKinna said. “The first game last year the Mariners bought up 937 full members. We have put a good team on the park and the pre-season has been good. Let’s get down to the Central Coast in huge numbers. There would be nothing better than going down there and getting three points. It would set us up for the first home game against Perth. The way things have been, not making the finals in the last seven years, that first game is very important.”
Hoole, a Lambton Jaffas junior who came through the Broadmeadow Magic and Jets youth systems, has only played one A-League game against his home-town club during a season at Sydney in 2015-16.
He returned home last year, playing in 26 of a possible 27 games and scoring five goals. The Jets were initially eager to re-sign him, but negotiations broke down over a proposed contractual clause that would have guaranteed Newcastle a set payout should Hoole have transferred overseas.
He was subsequently part of a wholesale cleanout at the end of and the season and was was quick to link with Mariners mentor Paul Okon, under whom he had played with the Young Socceroos
“He has been working hard and fitted in really well with the team,” Okon said. “He has an enormous amount of ability. It is actually scary how much ability he has got. The challenge for Hooley, and the challenge for us, is to maximise that and get it out of him consistently, not for one game or half an hour in a game. He has scored some good goals in pre-season, he has had some assists. We think, if we can get Hooley up to eight-to-ten goals, it will mean we are winning more football games. His delivery on set pieces is also a weapon for us.”