STEVE Ugarkovic feels the need for speed.
The Newcastle Jets midfielder and teammate Kaine Sheppard were given a tour of the 77th Squadron hangar at Williamtown by wing commander Jason Easthope in the lead-up to the club's RAAF round against the Mariners at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday.
Ugarkovic got up close with an F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet and could only imagine what it would be like to jump in the cockpit for real.
"I would love to experience flying in one," Ugarkovic said. "From what I understand, it is pretty full on. I'm into things that go quick. I like my fast cars and things like that."
An F/A18 Hornet will do a flyby before kick-off in the F3 derby and the Jets will wear a special camouflage strip.
And Ugarkovic is anticipating a fierce on-field battle against a Mariners outfit playing for pride under new coach Alen Stajcic.
The former Matildas boss took the reins on Tuesday following the 8-2 loss to Wellington and sacking of Mike Mulvey.
"It won't be an easy game just because they lost 8-2," Ugarkovic said. "It is still a derby. It's a big game for us and them. They want to prove to their fans that they don't deserve to be where they are."
Jets coach Ernie Merrick was in the stands in Gosford on Saturday night and said it was "hard to watch".
"I have sympathy for the football staff and the players, and I respect the club very much," he said. "Congratulations to Wellington. They played very well. But to see the Mariners sink so low and see what the fans are dealing with and the football staff. It is sad to see a club down where they are, and they have been there for a few seasons now. I take no joy in that and I hope the club gets back to its best. It won't be an easy game on Saturday night."
The Jets had the second week of the split round off and used the break to freshen up mentally.
"We still trained and had a game among ourselves," Ugarkovic said. "It wasn't for 90 minutes. That would have defeated the purpose of freshening up. It was good to have that mental break from playing every week."
With Ben Kantarovski sidelined with a calf strain, Ugarkovic will team up with Matthew Ridenton in the centre of the park.
"When Matty and I play in there, it is a little different," Ugarkovic said. "We have to bounce off each other because we don't have Kanta sitting there. He is so good at that. We have to be a bit more mindful. As long as we work off each other that is the main thing, so that we are both not bombing on forward."