Competitions

PS4 NPL NNSW Round 16 Preview

July 28th, 2016
Photo: Sproule Sports Focus

Ben Homer

Match of the Round

Hamilton Olympic v Newcastle Jets Youth

2.30pm Sunday 31st July at Darling Street Oval

Last Meeting: Hamilton 5 Jets Youth 0 at Darling Street Oval, Saturday 21st May 2016

Ladder: Hamilton 1st (35pts) Jets Youth 6th (17)

Past 3 Starts (Most Recent First):

Hamilton – Drew Magic 1-1 (a), Won Eagles 3-1 (h), Won Bears 3-1 (a)

Jets – Won Rosebuds 4-1 (h), Lost Magic 10-2 (a), Lost Eagles 4-2 (a)

Bottom Line

Hamilton will need to put the disappointment of last weekend’s thrilling draw with Broadmeadow behind them when they take on the Jets Youth on Sunday. After the high of knocking Edgeworth off top spot, the week before Olympic must regroup after a result which handed Edgeworth the initiative in the premiership race.

The Jets Youth will be no pushovers, though, having lost just three of their last ten matches. The back end of the season has been fruitful for the Jets young guns with Cameron Joice, Krisitan Brymora and Cody Carroll leading their attacking charge. At the back, the acquisition of Matt Richardson has steeled up their defence.

However, the Jets must overcome history if they are to win this match. Their last win against Olympic came way back in their first meeting in round five of 2012 when the Youth side won 3-1 on that occasion. Since that day it has been all one-way traffic with Hamilton winning six of their last eight clashes, with two draws which both came in 2014 when the Jets were minor premiers.

In the context of the rest of the season, Hamilton need to win this if they are to have any hope of winning the minor premiership. Unless Edgeworth struggle in their last four matches, it is difficult to see them not getting at least nine points from their remaining four matches. Three wins from their last three get Hamilton to 44 points, and they would be hugely unlucky not to win the minor premiership after getting 44 points.

Back in round seven when these two sides met, the Jets Youth created plenty of chances, but didn’t finish them off and Hamilton made them pay. On that afternoon Olympic were clinical in front of goal and coach Mick Bolch will be hoping for much of the same this weekend after a disappointing match in front of goal against Broadmeadow.

 What the Coaches Said:

 Mick Bolch (Hamilton)

“The Jets have obviously turned it around after the disaster against Magic, they had a good win on the weekend against Adamstown and a draw against Maitland who have been going well. They are young and sharp and very well disciplined. Zaney [Clayton Zane] has them shutting down very well, so we need to very careful when we are in possession especially in our own third.”

“We just need to take our chances; we are creating plenty. We are playing some really good football at the moment. It’s just our execution and our end product needs to be a bit better. We need to be a bit more ruthless.”

Clayton Zane (Jets Youth)

“This will be a big challenge for us from the physical perspective. Going forward in the last match they totally outmuscled us. With Edgeworth they are probably the most rounded team in the competition, they are hard to break down at the back, so that physical challenge is there trying got get beyond their back four and also in defence with [Kane] Goodchild up front.”

“Our actual performance against them last time was quite good, we executed the game plan quite well, but it was just the big moments where they outmuscled us, and punished us. These games against Edgeworth, Magic and Olympic, its trying to get through the first 20 minutes and settle into the match. A lot of teams try to put a lot of pressure against us in the opening part of the match.”

 Key: The pressure is on Hamilton to get the three points this weekend, while the pressure will also be on the young Jets as they vie for spots in NYL team. Who will respond better?

 

Valentine Phoenix v Broadmeadow Magic

3pm Saturday 30th July at Blacksmiths Oval

Last Meeting: Broadmeadow 3 Valentine 3 at Magic Park, Sunday 22nd May, 2016

Ladder: Valentine 7th (15) Broadmeadow 3rd (29)

Past 3 Starts (Most Recent First):

Valentine – Drew Bears 2-2 (h), Won Jaffas 3-2 (a), Lost Rosebuds 2-0 (h)

Broadmeadow – Drew Olympic 2-2 (h), Won Jets 10-2 (h), Lost Eagles 2-0 (a)

Bottom Line

The real question regarding this match is which Valentine side will turn up on Saturday? The Phoenix have had some outstanding showings this season, knocking off Charlestown and Maitland, both sides who are above them on the ladder, while they also held Broadmeadow to a 3-3 draw last time out.

However, disappointing showings against Weston last outing, Adamstown, and Lambton this season have ensured the Lake Macquarie based side sit ten points outside a finals spot and not within touching distance. This match will be a real test for the Phoenix, with Broadmeadow in red hot form after disposing of the Jets Youth 10-2 a couple of weeks ago and holding rivals Hamilton to a 1-1 draw on Sunday.

Broadmeadow’s record against the Phoenix is also red hot, with Magic last tasting defeat against Valentine back in round 18 of 2010, by a scoreline of 2-0. Incredibly, the man who scored the two goals for Valentine that afternoon, Shane Paul, would have lined up for Broadmeadow is he wasn’t suspended.

The key to this match lies in Valentine’s ability to keep Broadmeadow’s attack weapons at bay. James Virgili, Kale Bradbury and Peter Haynes were on song last weekend and the first half seems crucial to this match. However, the loss of Virgili will have a significant impact on Broadmeadow’s attacking threat.

Magic have scored 21 of their last 31 goals in the first half of matches. Valentine have the attacking arsenal to break down Broadmeadow as they showed back in round seven, but if they are unable to keep them out it will make things difficult for the home side.

James Virgili is out for Broadmeadow with a shoulder injury sustained last weekend, as is Shane Paul and Michael Kantarovski who are out suspended. Jon Griffiths returns from suspension while Matt Hoole will return from an ankle injury.

What the Coaches Said:

Rob Virgili (Broadmeadow)

“We want to keep winning games so we can run towards the finals in some good form. We were disappointed with our defence last game, we were up 2-0 and it ended up 3-3. We need to score early to open things up, because the longer the game goes without scoring, the harder it is the breakdown a side like Valentine.”

“We are a confidence side and I think we have the confidence there it is just a matter of playing for the full 90 minutes. I don’t look at the matches where we drop points to Edgeworth and Hamilton as the premiership matches, I see the days where we dropped points to Adamstown and Valentine as the ones that cost us when we look back on it.”

Key: Consistency. If Valentine can put two halves of quality football together on Saturday, Magic may be stunned for the second time this year against the Phoenix.

 

Charlestown City Blues v Edgeworth Eagles

2.30pm Sunday 31st July at Lisle Carr Oval

Last Meeting: Edgeworth 6 Charlestown 1 at Jack McLaughlan Oval, Sunday 22nd May 2016

Ladder: Charlestown 5th (21) Edgeworth 2nd (34)

Past 3 Starts (Most Recent First):

Charlestown – Won Bears 3-2 (a), Drew Jaffas 0-0 (h), Won Rosebuds 3-1 (a)

Edgeworth – Lost Olympic 3-1 (a), Won Magic 2-0 (h), Won Jets 4-2 (h)

Bottom Line

A loss for Charlestown in any one of their final three matches will see their finals hopes evaporate, and they couldn’t have asked for a tougher run home if they had tried. Matches against Edgeworth, Broadmeadow and then Hamilton to finish off the trifecta will no doubt make it difficult for Shane Pryce’s men to overcome the 5 -point gap between themselves and fourth-placed Maitland.

Along with Valentine, Charlestown have proved the doubters wrong all year and this presents another chance to do so. Edgeworth will be somewhat more fatigued and tired than they would usually be after an energy-sapping trip up north, and it provides Shane Pryce’s men with an opportunity to pounce.

Recently, it has been the Eagles who have had the upper hand in the matches between the two sides, with the Eagles having won four of their last six clashes. Edgeworth have piled on the goals in the last three matches between the sides, winning those by a combined margin of 12-2. Charlestown’s major challenge sits with keeping the Eagles’ attacking weapons quiet, and they did that for much of their round 7 clash until they conceded four goals in the final 24 minutes of the match to go down 6-1.

The loss of leading goal scorer Rene Ferguson to a hamstring injury will be a huge blow for the Blues in the attacking third. His strength on the ball and goal scoring ability will be sorely missed, but on the positive side for Charlestown, it will give a young player a chance to prove their worth against one of the competition’s top sides.

Along with Rene Ferguson, Billy Gibbons (knee) and Cameron Hughes (thigh) who was going to start against his old club are both out for the weekend’s clash.

What the Coaches Said:

Shane Pryce (Charlestown)

“Obviously, they are the benchmark of the competition, and hopefully, they will be returning from a victorious FFA Cup game. At the positions they are in on the table, with a game in hand and one point off the lead, I am guessing they won’t be holding back either. It will be on at our home ground for them, we’ve just got to try to spoil the party.”

“The last few weeks the guys have shown in football terms individually who they are and they have reflected who they were in the first five-six weeks of the competition. They have got a bit more confidence and I’m happy with that and I think we have a good group to build on. Hopefully, we can push [Maitland] all the way for the finals spot.”

Damien Zane (Edgeworth)

“Just because of the week we have had it’s a danger game. We’ll bring in a few guys and add a bit of freshness if we get across the line, I think we will be looking good for the rest of the year. The effort the boys put in against FNQ Heat was phenomenal. We won’t be our freshest on the weekend, but its juts one of those games where we need to turn up and grind out a win.”

“We’ve got three games in the next seven days, so the next week is probably going to decide the premiership. It just comes back to the squad we have. I believe we have the best squad in the league, and everyone is going to have to play their part to the end of the year and I’m sure they all will. This is where our depth will really start to shine through.”

Key: Fatigue. The humidity of Cairns will take its toll on Edgeworth, but do they have the fitness in them to ensure that has no impact on Sunday.

 

Adamstown Rosebud v Lambton Jaffas

2.30pm Sunday 31st July at Adamstown Oval

Last Meeting: Lambton 5 Adamstown 0 at Arthur Edden Oval, Saturday 21st May 2016

Ladder: Adamstown 9th (11) Lambton 8th (13)

Past 3 Starts (Most Recent First):

Adamstown – Lost Jets 4-1 (a), Lost Magpies 4-2 (a), Lost Blues 3-1 (h)

Lambton – Lost Magpies 4-1 (h), Drew Blues 0-0 (a), Lost Phoenix 3-2 (h)

Bottom Line

It is incredible how much can change over the course of a year. Last season at this point both of these sides were pushing for a finals spot, this year they will be aiming to salvage something from the remaining three matches of the season. Both have had no luck with injuries this season, and the Rosebuds have also not been helped by red cards handed out with monotonous regularity.

Lambton’s season seemed to be heading upwards after a slow start to the season when they incredibly upset Hamilton Olympic in the FFA Cup. But, it wasn’t to be and now the Jaffas are slowly forgetting that winning feeling. It will be more than a month since they last won – a 3-1 win against last-placed Weston – when they take the field against Adamstown on Sunday, which doesn’t bode considering they have an FFA Cup clash in less than two weeks.

The smaller pitch of Arthur Edden Oval has seemed to hinder the Jaffas this year, as they have won just one of their home matches this season, funnily enough against the side they play on the weekend. So a trip away from Arthur Edden Oval may be a blessing in disguise. While the Jaffas haven’t won for a month, they haven’t lost away from home in almost two months and that was against Edgeworth.

After a mid-season spike in form, Adamstown have really struggled of late, losing four of their last five matches, and slipping to 9th on the ladder. It has been a tough year for Graham Law, but this back end of the season provides Adamstown’s coach with a chance to blood some young players in preparation for next season.

This weekend’s match-up also gives Adamstown a chance to beat Lambton for the first time since the Rosebuds were promoted at the end of 2013. In the five matches the sides have played since then it has been all the Jaffas, winning four, along with a 1-1 draw last season.

What the Coaches Said:

Graham Law (Adamstown)

“The difficult part to the back end of the season is coming up with reasons to be motivated, which in itself shouldn’t be a problem. We need to stay motivated, we can still claim three or four places, and it is my job to keep the boys motivated.”

“We have a lot of good players coming through the club, and we will see where we are at the end of the season and some of those boys might get an opportunity.”

James Pascoe (Lambton)

“I think based on facts, our home record is horrendous. It’s the same for both teams when we turn up there, and I have been told the home record has been pretty decent over the last two or three years. We have tried to put our finger on the problem and have adjusted our game at home, and in our eight home games we have had a different approach at times.”

“We haven’t tried to do something consistently which hasn’t worked for us. We’ve tried to vary between defending deep, pressing high and playing out from the back. I think all of those things contribute to a lack of consistency as has having to pick a team based on who is available rather than form.”

Key: Desire. With an NPL season both sides will want to readily forget, whoever has the most heart will win this one.

 

Maitland Magpies v Weston Workers Bears

2.30pm Sunday 31st July at Cooks Square Park

Last Meeting: Maitland 3 Weston 0 at Rockwell Automation Park, Sunday 22nd May 2016

Ladder: Maitland 4th (25) Weston 10th (3)

Past 3 Starts (Most Recent First):

Maitland – Drew Jets 1-1(h), Won Jaffas 4-1 (a), Won Rosebuds 4-2 (h)

Weston – Lost Blues 3-2 (h), Drew Phoenix 2-2 (a), Lost Olympic 3-1 (h)

Bottom Line

Weston’s chance to finish with at least one win in season 2016 is running out fast, but, a derby battle with Maitland which normally brings out the best in both sides, regardless of their positions on the ladder, gives the Bears an opportunity to break their duck against their main rivals.

Last season it was a 0-0 draw against lowly Maitland in round 14 which cost the Bears a spot in the finals. In a match Weston were expected to win, and consolidate a top four spot, they were unable to put a valiant Magpies side away. A year later, and history repeats, albeit both sides are in opposite spots on the ladder.

If Maitland win, they will be all but assured of a finals spot. However, if the Bears can spring a major upset, or even share the points with the home side, Maitland could face a nervous final two rounds of the season.

Maitland will be tough to beat, though, and have been outstanding in the final third over the past three weeks. After a slump through the middle part of the season where they lost three of four matches, the Magpies won three straight before their midweek draw with the Jets and scored 10 goals in the process. Matt Thompson the architect, controlling the midfield and playing the best football we have seen from him in his two seasons at Maitland.

For Weston to win this it will come down to their defence. The Bears just don’t have the fire. Maitland have scored nearly three times the amount of goals that Weston have over the 15 matches so far. If the visitors can frustrate Maitland in attack and grab a goal for themselves, we could have a real game on our hands. If Maitland gets away, though, it could be a long afternoon for Bears’ fans.

Ryan Clarke is in doubt for the match against Weston, while Blake Thompson, who missed the game with the Jets could return against Weston on Sunday.

What the Coaches Said:

Reece Thompson (Maitland)

“I think we are probably one win away from securing a finals place, and we would love to do that in the local derby. We’ve played well the last few weeks and a lot of the credit has to go to Matt Thompson and Dean Heffernan and the playing group.”

“We are a really tight-knit playing group, we went out after the Saturday game and it’s just good to get that club culture vibe back. Piggo probably did the hard work at the start of the year getting the structure in place. It’s just been easier for me, and with Matt Thompson and Dean Heffernan around it has really just smoothed things out.”

Trevor Morris (Weston)

“I think [Maitland] are into the finals, personally, I think they will make it. We turn up every week thinking we will win; we have nothing else to lose. I turn up every week expecting to win. I can’t fault the players, they are turning up to training, they are working hard, the spirit is good. It’s just unfortunate it has been the year from hell.”

“It does worry me personally about going through a season with a win. Our last five-six weeks we have been playing some decent football, and the improvement is there. We just need to concentrate on what our team does and we will go out on Sunday and give it a red hot crack.”

Key: Weston’s defence. The Bears’ backline will need to keep the likes of Matt Comerford and Ryan Clarke quiet if they are to take down their rivals.

Related Topics:
NPL Premier Competitions

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