Competitions

PS4 NPL NNSW Round 18 Preview

July 13th, 2017
PHOTO: SPROULE SPORTS FOCUS

BEN HOMER 

Hamilton Olympic v Edgeworth Eagles
2.30pm Sunday 16th July at Darling Street Oval
“Match of the Round”

Last Meeting: Round 7, 2017: Edgeworth 1 Hamilton 1 at Darling Street Oval.
Ladder: Hamilton 4th (28pts), Edgeworth 1st (33)
Last 3 Starts (most recent first):
Edgeworth – Won Jets 4-1 (h), Won Magpies 2-1 (a), Won Rosebud 3-0 (a)
Hamilton – Won Blues 2-1 (a), Won Jets 2-1 (a), Drew Magpies 2-2 (h)

Bottom Line

For the third time this season Hamilton takes on Edgeworth and over the last three seasons, fixtures between these two sides have been the most eagerly anticipated.

While Hamilton don’t seem as close to the premiership race as they were over the past two seasons, a win over the Eagles this weekend will incredibly put them within two points of top spot.

Olympic come into the match on the back of two straight victories, and two last-gasp victories, instilling themselves as the competitions comeback kings. Last weekend, two goals in the final 17 minutes ensured three points against Charlestown.

It was the third match in a row Olympic have scored in the final 15 minutes to get a result.

It is fascinating that while Olympic are the league’s most potent side in the final 15 minutes of matches – scoring 10 and conceding just two – their opponents Edgeworth are the PlayStation ® National Premier Leagues (NPL) NNSW’s best defensive side in the final 15 minutes.

They haven’t conceded once in the PS4 NPL this season and have scored four of their own.

While these statistics show that Hamilton won’t be able to leave it late against the Eagles, what is hidden is their Westfield FFA Cup match at Darling Street.

Scott Smith scored in the 80th minute for Olympic in their 4-2 defeat. It is the only goal leaked by Edgeworth in the final 15 minutes in all matches this season, which muddies the water on this match a little.

What is clear though is Edgeworth’s form. It is white hot. They have won 13 of their last 14 in all competitions and come into the match on the back of a 4-1 thumping of the Jets Youth last week.

Another cracking contest awaits. Edgeworth deservedly are the favourites, but never write off Olympic at Darling Street, a place where they have lost just four of their last 43 league season matches.

What the Coaches Said:

Mick Bolch (Hamilton)

“[Edgeworth] have got dangers all over the park. They’ve done the same as they’ve done for the last two years, come home with a late run. They’ve put themselves in prime positions for the minor premiership again. Obviously, we need to be on our game, they’ve got quality all over the park. [Kieran] Sanders is doing really well, [Daniel] McBreen up front, [Dylan] Holz has been doing really well for them. We need to be a lot better than what we have been.”

“You’ve got to take the positives, while we haven’t been playing great football, we are still getting results. We have only lost one game in 11 weeks, to the Jaffas which we were pretty unlucky when we hit the post four times, so we are still eking out results. It is a sign of a good side, win when you are not playing well.”

Damian Zane (Edgeworth)

“I’ve already said to the boys, to not listen to what is going around. Everyone is telling the crisis [Hamilton] are in. I look at the points table and it tells me a different story. On Tuesday I was pretty blunt with my message about how we go about this week and that it is not going to be easy. They always come out with a point to prove against us.”

“It’s going to be a tough match. It’s a massive game. If we stay ahead of the pack after this weekend away to a Hamilton, it is ours to lose that is for sure. We’ve lost both games [at Darling Street] in the league since I’ve been here. We are not a big physical team, and we thought it would be even harder this year. That’s the reason why we brought in Kieran [Sanders], for the games at Darling Street. He’s just got mongrel in him, he’s tough, he’s skilful.”

Key: Can Edgeworth win their first PS4 NPL match at Darling Street since 2011?

 

Valentine Phoenix v Maitland Magpies
2.30pm Saturday 15th July at Cahill Oval

Last Meeting: Round 6, 2017: Maitland 0 Valentine 4 at Cooks Square Park.
Ladder: Valentine 3rd (31), Maitland 6th (24)
Past 3 Starts (most recent first):
Valentine – Won Jets 3-2 (h), Lost Rosebud 2-4 (a), Won Jaffas 2-1 (h)
Maitland –  Won Bears 3-2 (a), Lost Eagles 1-2 (h), Drew Olympic 2-2 (a)

Bottom Line

Neither Valentine nor Maitland can afford to drop points this weekend as the race for the top four intensifies.

Maitland sit four points adrift of fourth-placed Hamilton and while defeat won’t end their finals hopes, it will make the task very difficult

The Magpies scraped past Weston last weekend in the ‘El Classicoal’ and while coach Phil Dando though his side were lucky to claim three points, he will be pleased they could still claim victory without playing at their full potential.

Valentine had last weekend off with the bye but met the Newcastle Jets Youth on Wednesday last week.

A 3-2 victory against the Jets kept them entrenched in the top four and provided a significant boost to their confidence after it received a battering in the second half of round 16 against Adamstown.

The Phoenix led 2-0 inside half-an-hour against the Rosebuds. Captain, Scott McGinley put a penalty over the bar before half-time and from there it all went downhill for Valentine. Four goals later and the Rosebuds had pulled off a remarkable 4-2 win.

Since Valentine’s promotion in 2016, the sides have met three times in the NPL. Maitland won the first – a fiery encounter – 3-2 at Cahill Oval and the Phoenix have won both since.

The sides have a lot of history, with Valentine and Maitland vying for promotion from the NewFM Northern League One in 2014, which Maitland ultimately won.

The Phoenix haven’t beaten Maitland at Cahill Oval since 2014, where they thumped them 4-0 – the same scoreline which they won by earlier this season.

This match cannot be split. Both sides have been up and down of late winning two of their last four. Whoever stands tall in the big moments will get the job done.

What the Coaches Said:

Darren Sills (Valentine)

“There is a little bit of rivalry forged between the clubs. I think that stems back from the NewFM days, so I’m looking forward to it. Across they park they have got some great players. I think Phil Dando has done a terrific job with the workload, whether or not that is catching up with them I don’t know. This is their Grand Final this weekend, they really need to perform and win. We are in the same boat, we really need to cement a top four position and we need to win this game.”

“Simple fact is, people say to you, you’ve had a great year, we haven’t done anything so it’s not a great year until we at least get to the semi-finals. Although our minor premiership aspirations are pretty well over it would be terrible to fall at the last hurdle and not make the semis, so we are really working hard to ensure that happens.”

Phil Dando (Maitland)

“We thought we matched them for a large part of the game and then it was during that busy period that we had, we just lost our way a bit in the second half. But, first half we were really matching them. We just ran out of legs a bit. We shouldn’t be that bad this time around. We are a bit more settled now, just playing at the weekend instead of two games a week, so we should be ready for it.”

“We have the perennial problem of course that every team we play against has the bye the week before they play us, so they’ll come into it fresh and we are still chipping away. But, they’re very quick and of course, with [Jalon] Brown up front. They use that pace, a bit like us really. They use that pace up front and if you are not defending well they will kill you off.” 

Key: Consistency. Both sides haven’t been that of late. Who can step up in a match that means plenty for both clubs?

 

Lambton Jaffas v Charlestown City Blues
2.30pm Saturday 15th July at Arthur Edden Oval

Last Meeting: Round 7, 2017: Charlestown 1 Lambton 2 at Lisle Carr Oval.
Ladder: Lambton 2nd (32), Charlestown 8th (15)
Past 3 Starts (most recent first):
Lambton – Lost Magic 1-3 (a), Won Roosters 3-1 (h), Lost Phoenix 1-2 (a)
Charlestown – Lost Olympic 1-2 (h), Lost Roosters 0-2 (a), Lost Magic 0-2 (a)

Bottom Line

Lambton will aim to respond from a defeat with a victory for the fifth time in all competitions in 2017 when they host a Charlestown side who have lost three on the spin but have given a good account of themselves in each defeat.

The Blues come into the fixture on the back of a defeat to Hamilton Olympic on Sunday afternoon, where like most sides recently against Hamilton, they had the lead going into the final 20 minutes before a late Olympic surge was enough to get them over the line.

Injuries to key players including skipper Matt Tull have cruelled the Blues over the back-half of the campaign, but to look on the bright side their young talent has stood tall over the last few weeks.

Meanwhile, Lambton have struggled over the last few weeks, winning just one of their last three matches to fall from the top spot on the ladder.

Last weekend they were outgunned by a dominant Broadmeadow Magic side 3-1 away from home, where they struggled to create chances against a strong Magic backline.

The loss of Jobe Wheelhouse seems to have been keenly felt by Lambton who have won two and lost two in the PS4 NPL NNSW since he was injured a month ago in the Westfield FFA Cup clash with Edgeworth.

To add to that, the Jaffas record of late against the Blues isn’t that flash, and while they won 2-1 in round seven, that is the only victory Lambton have had against Charlestown in their last three encounters.

With the experience and pedigree Lambton has, in comparison to a mainly younger and less experienced Charlestown side, the Jaffas will rightly be favourites to make it two from two against the Blues this season.

What the Coaches Said:

Shane Pryce (Charlestown)

“Tough time to get them. Beware of the wounded bear. They’ll be looking to get back on track and get back to winning ways. We are playing away from home, Lambton at home with the quality of player they have got with the expectation to win the whole thing, it’s a massive game for them and a game where we hopefully can turn up and show the same fight and passion that we did on the weekend.”

“The message for my guys with the changes at the club is go out and put yourself in the spotlight and the window so to speak for everyone to see. As long as you come off and you’ve had a go, well then you can hold your head up high. That was our attitude to the Olympic game and it’s going to be the same this weekend as well. [We’ve got] nothing to lose.”

Key: Can Lambton respond from defeat with a win for the fifth time this year?

 

Newcastle Jets Youth v Weston Bears
2.30pm Saturday 15th July at Rockwell Automation Park

Last Meeting: Round 7, 2017: Weston 2 Jets Youth 2 at Rockwell Automation Park.
Ladder: Jets Youth 10th (9), Weston 11th (7)
Past 3 Starts (most recent first):
Jets – Lost Eagles 1-4 (a), Lost Phoenix 2-3 (a), Lost Olympic 1-2 (h)
Weston – Lost Magpies 2-3 (h), Lost Rosebud 0-2 (h), Lost Jaffas 0-5 (a)

Bottom Line

Both Weston and the Jets Youth will be in need of some confidence in the PS4 NPL NNSW with both sides winless run in their last 11 matches combined.

The Bears have lost their last six straight, while the Jets Youth have lost their last five matches.

Weston were unlucky on Saturday in the Coalfields Derby, going down 3-2 in a tight encounter where they deserved at least a point.

Midweek, they took on the Newcastle Jets Hyundai A-League side and went down 2-0 in a match where the Bears gave a great account of themselves, scrambling in defence to deny the Jets on numerous occasions, while also creating a couple of chances for themselves.

The Jets Youth play their third match of a four in a frantic two-week period when they clash with the Bears on Saturday. They will play Lake Macquarie on Tuesday before flying out to China where they will participate in the prestigious Weifang Cup.

The Jets will no doubt be keen to head to China on a positive note after a season to forget where they have won just twice in 16 matches.

The young Jets have had the wood over the Bears recently with Weston winning only one of the last five matches between the sides.

Earlier this season, Chris Hurley scored a double for the Bears – of which his first was a goal of the year contender.

Hurley’s second put Weston in front in the 90th minute, but they couldn’t hold on as Mark Moric scored in the third minute of stoppage time to ensure the points would be shared.

Expect another close encounter on Saturday, but the buzz about the Weston playing group after playing the Jets on Tuesday may just be enough to give them the edge.

What the Coaches Said:

Labinot Haliti (Jets Youth Assistant)

“[Weston] are a good team, they did well [on Wednesday night]. Obviously, coming up against the Newcastle Jets A-League team it was always going to be a test for them. But, I thought it was a good game overall. The young boy Patty [Pat Langlois] played the full game, and Leroy [Jennings] in the middle he came on with about 30 to go so he got a bit of game time. Slowly, slowly everything is coming good.”

“It’s good that there are boys from the Youth coming up and they get a bit of a chance to show themselves. But, they are only young boys so they are going to have plenty of ups and downs, as it’s a football career and that is part of it. The last two games, especially against Valentine was good, and against Edgeworth, one of the best teams in the comp, maybe not so good in the second half. But, I think the most important thing is if they are learning and improving game to game.”

Steve Piggott (Weston)

“It was an exciting experience for those young players, for me. I still live for those moments when you come up against quality coaches and you put your brains together and see if you can plan around the quality that they have got. We probably could have done a little better, but you are limited by what you have got in a team. I was happy with my performance and I was happy with their performance.”

“It’s always tough when you have a midweek match. Can you replicate what you did? If we can replicate the intensity and the willingness to do the things we did really well [on Tuesday], this weekend against the Jets Youth we should win the match. For me the Jets Youth are similar to us, a young side, lacking confidence at times. Can either group get over their deficiencies and put it into practice to win the game?”

Key: With two young sides on show, can a player on either side step up and take the game by the scruff of the neck?

 

Broadmeadow Magic v Adamstown Rosebud
2.30pm Sunday 16th July at Magic Park

Last Meeting: Round 7, 2017: Adamstown 0 Broadmeadow 0 at Adamstown Oval.
Ladder: Broadmeadow 5th (27), Adamstown 9th (13)
Last 3 Starts (most recent first):
Broadmeadow – Won Jaffas 3-1 (h), Won Blues 2-0 (h), Won Phoenix 3-1 (a)
Adamstown – Lost Roosters 1-3 (a), Won Phoenix 4-2 (h), Won Bears 3-0 (a)

Bottom Line

Adamstown faces one of the most daunting prospects in the PS4 NPL NNSW at the moment – a dual with a Magic side who have won seven straight and only seem to be getting better.

Last weekend Broadmeadow knocked over the league-leading Lambton Jaffas 3-1, in one of their most impressive performances of the season and coach Ruben Zadkovich spoke after the match about how keen his men are to right the wrongs of the first 11 rounds.

One of their most disappointing performances of the first round of matches was the clash at Adamstown Oval on ANZAC Day against the Rosebud’s where Magic simply couldn’t break down a stout Adamstown defence.

Zadkovich and his men will be keen to erase that result from their memories with a quality showing in front of their home fans against the Rosebuds.

Adamstown coach Nick Webb returns to Magic where he started the season as Assistant Coach before taking a break and then moving to Adamstown last month.

Webb has turned results and morale around for the Rosebud’s, as they have won two of their last three matches and climbed off the bottom of the ladder in the process.

The only issue for Webb has been Adamstown’s first half performances. Since he has arrived they have conceded nine of their 11 goals in the first half of matches and he will have to rectify that against a Magic side who can’t stop scoring at the moment.

In second halves they have been unstoppable, scoring six goals in the second half of their last three matches, so it really is a balancing act for Webb and his side.

Magic roar into this match as favourites. But, as Adamstown showed in round seven – underestimate them at your peril.

What the Coaches Said:

Ruben Zadkovich (Broadmeadow)

“Tough game. They are a good side, for some workers. They’ve got working class players so they’ll be industrious, so we’ll have to compete and match them physically and mentally before the game even starts to be honest. Then if we turn up with the right attitude, our quality should get us across the line with the way we are playing at the moment.”

“The first round was frustrating, we still dominated, don’t get me wrong, we absolutely dominated the game. Their keeper made a few good saves and we should have taken chances, but we didn’t. In the end, they had all 11 players all camped back in their half, hanging on for a point when they were coming last. The whole game was frustrating for me, and I’m prepared that they might do something similar again. I’m hoping that they actually have a go so we can actually put on a decent show, and decent football like we have in recent weeks.”

Nick Webb (Adamstown)

“’You’ve got to stop the outlets that is allowing the balls into [James] Virgili and Kale [Bradbury] and these guys. Obviously, shutting down [Mitch] Oxborrow and his balls in behind like he has been playing. He is the key to our game plan and we’ll be working on that, but at the end of the day we’ve got to be confident enough in ourselves to go out and win the game as well.”

“We are not going to sit back and hope we can defend. That is just not how I coach. We just need to take our opportunities that are in front of us and that is obviously what has been killing us. We still are leaking way too many goals but certainly, we are not scoring enough.”

Key: Can Adamstown solve their first half woes, without comprising their second half performances?

Related Topics:
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