Much of the build up to the F3 derby centred around former Central Coast Mariners striker, Roy O’Donovan. The striker jumped ship over the off season to join the Mariners’ bitter rivals, Newcastle Jets.

On the pitch, the Irishman proved to be the difference as he unlocked the Mariners’ defence and capitalised on his former side’s defensive woes.

Seemingly unfazed by the speculation surrounding his return to Central Coast Stadium, the 32-year-old scored a hattrick on his Jets debut, a feat he couldn’t manage during his time with the Mariners.

O’Donovan’s scintillating display demonstrates that the Mariners were unable to provide the striker with the support needed to succeed. During his time on the Central Coast under Tony Walmsley and Paul Okon, the number nine was starved of service and didn’t show his full arsenal, like he for the Novocastrians.

After their 5-1 mauling, there’s no doubt that Okon will be ruing the loss of his star striker.

“We never planned for Roy to score a hattrick in the first half,” said Okon post-match, “he took his goals well.”

The former Mariner exploited Central Coast’s defence and only strengthened his case to be recognised as one of the A-League’s most lethal strikers.

With the Jets, he can flourish, surrounded by quality footballers like Venezuelan, Ronald Vargas and winger, Andrew Nabbout, he could propel the Jets into finals contention if he can deliver similar kinds of performance on a regular basis.

Unlike their opposition, Okon’s side were wasteful in attack and spurred a host of attacking opportunities. However, the Mariners coach believes that O’Donovan’s replacement, Asdrubal can succeed in the A-League.

“He was lively, he was busy and once he gets that match fitness into his legs he’s going to be a real threat,” Okon said.

The Spanish striker was the only Mariners player who got on the scoresheet for the home team and a goal in his first appearance isn’t exactly a bad start. However, will history repeat itself? Will the Mariners become over reliant on the Spaniard as they did with O’Donovan?

To outshine his predecessor, the Spaniard hitman requires the best service he can get and currently that’s something his side just couldn’t manage in their opening fixture.

The Mariners striker relies on the service of the lightning quick Connor Pain and Kwabena Appiah. Their electrifying pace will always pose a threat to opposition defenders however their final product can be questionable at the best of times and unless they can improve upon their form in front of goal this campaign, Asdrubal will struggle to topple O’Donovan’s goal scoring record.

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Studying Journalism at UTS. Obsessed with football and a die hard supporter of Sydney FC and Liverpool FC in the EPL