It may not have the glitz and glamour or the frenzied media profile of a Sydney Derby, but there is something just as special about a Western Sydney Wanderers and Central Coast Mariners contest.
It was back on 6 October 2012 that the Wanderers made their historic entry into the Hyundai A-League, figuring in a 0-0 draw with the Central Coast Mariners.
The game featured many familiar names in the starting eleven. Some that were household names, some that went on to be Socceroos and some that became Wanderers legends in their own right.
Led by Captain Michael Beauchamp, the Wanderers squad included Ante Covic, Adam D’Apuzzo, Nikolai Topor-Stanley, Matteo Poljak, Youssef Hersi, Aaron Mooy, Labinot Haliti, Dino Kresinger, Mark Bridge, Jerome Polenz. Bench: Jerrad Tyson, Shinji Ono, Kwabena Appiah and Shannon Cole.
The Mariners squad included Matty Ryan, Josh Rose, Pedj Bojic, Patrick Zwaanswijk, Trent Sainsbury, John Hutchinson, Adriano Pellegrino, Michael McGlinchey, Tom Rogic, Mitchell Duke, Mile Sterjovski. Bench: Justin Pasfield, Zac Anderson, Nick Montgomery, and Bernie Ibini.
Of all the players involved in that historic clash, just Topor-Stanley, McGlinchey and Duke are still playing in the Hyundai A-League.
That game seven years ago was a tough and evenly fought battle. But little did we know that it would lay the foundations for an intense rivalry between the two clubs in years to come.
Having overcome a tough spell that season, the Red & Black went on to create history by winning the Premiers Plate after a neck and neck battle with the Mariners.
Along the way, the clubs met twice in the regular season with the Mariners winning 2-0 at Parramatta Stadium before the Wanderers reversed the result with a 1-0 win in front of a massive crowd in Gosford.
A match that all but tied up the Premiers Plate for the Red & Black.
But it wasn’t meant to be the end of the story.
Just 196 days after that first historic meeting at Wanderland, the two sides went on to meet in the Grand Final.
The Wanderers gave it their all and despite the massive passion from the Red & Black faithful, the Wanderers fell short in painful 2-0 loss that handed the Mariners their first Hyundai A-League Championship.
With the pain of the season’s past still a strong memory in the Wanderers hearts and minds, the Red & Black exacted revenge the following season beating the Mariners 2-0 in a Finals Series knock-out match thanks to goals from Youssef Hersi and Iacopo La Rocca.
The result saw the Wanderers qualify for their second successive Grand Final.
The two sides have not met in a Finals Series game since, but their special rivalry, will no doubt be on display come Saturday 12 October.
Albeit in slightly different surrounds as the Wanderers celebrate their Hyundai A-League return to their spiritual home at the new Bankwest Stadium.