Match of the Round
Adamstown Rosebud v Hamilton Olympic
6 pm Saturday 18th March at Adamstown Oval
Last Meeting: Round 11, 2016: Adamstown 1 (Read (p) 24’) Hamilton 1 (Goodchild 7’)
Ladder: Adamstown 3rd (1pt) Hamilton 10th (0)
Adamstown – Drew Jets 4-4 (a)
Hamilton – Lost Jaffas 2-3 (h)
Two sides who would have been expected to claim more than just a point between them in the opening round meet in the ‘Match of the Round’ in round two of the PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues Northern NSW and it shapes as a crucial match for both sides.
Neither Olympic nor the Rosebud’s can afford to drop points in this fixture, with just only two sides winning last weekend, grabbing the three points early in the competition will be essential for either side.
The Rosebud’s come into the match after a pulsating 4-all draw with the Jets Youth where both sides showed their attacking prowess but at the same time made evident to other sides the leakiness of their respective defences.
After going down to ten men, just after going down 3-2, Adamstown will be proud of the character they showed to claim a point, but they will be unable to show the same ill-discipline against Olympic.
Hamilton started the season on fire, coming out against the Jaffas all guns blazing, pressing them and putting them under all sorts of pressure. They deserved their 2-0 lead at the break, but after half-time, they fatigued and Lambton made them pay to win 3-2.
Surely their second half performance will be in the back of their minds on Saturday and it will be interesting to see how they come out in the second 45 against the Rosebud’s.
Adamstown will be without stand-in Captain Robbie Turnbull who was sent off on Saturday, but Justin Tannock, Mitch Hunter, Owen Littlewood, and Captain Dayne Pawlik will all be in line for a return to the side come Saturday.
On the flip side, Mick Bolch has a few headaches at Olympic with Rhys Cooper ruled out for 4-6 weeks with a tear in his medial. Leo Bertos is in doubt after being collected by a stray Pat Brown boot last weekend. While the experienced duo of Kyle Hodges (ankle) and Andrew Swan (foot) are also in doubt.
What the Coaches Said:
Peter McGuinness (Adamstown)
“I watched [Hamilton] the other night against the Jaffas and I thought they were very effective in the first half. They have quite a few players that are a handful and that needs to be addressed by us if we are to get something out of the game.”
“It’s always a measure playing someone who has been there year in year out. They went through the entire season undefeated last year until finals time. It’ll tell us where we are at and if we can compete with them at this early stage of the year then it will be a good message to the group. If we are good enough to get something out of the game then it will be a really good message that we are on the right path.”
Mick Bolch (Hamilton)
“They are a young and mobile side and they did really well in the Heritage Cup. Pete McGuinness is a very good coach so I’m sure they’ll be up for it and they’ll be well organised.”
“It hasn’t been an ideal preparation for us. Usually, this time of the year we are ready to go, [but the last few years] come the back end of the season we have seemed to hit a brick wall. This year we have gone with a different approach, so we are probably only 70% of where we want to be. We realise that but it’s a long season. We are one match into 20 games, so it’s not panic stations by all means.”
Key: The second half. Adamstown scored three goals last weekend. Hamilton scored none. Olympic can’t afford another second half fade-out or questions will begin to be asked.
Lambton Jaffas v Edgeworth Eagles
2.30 pm Saturday 18th March at Arthur Edden Oval
Last Meeting: Round 10, 2016: Edgeworth 5 (Hammel 27’, 90+2’, Moore 49’, Moriyasu 81’, 88’) Lambton 0 at Jack McLaughlan Oval
Ladder: Lambton 1st (3) Edgeworth 8th (1)
Lambton – Won Olympic 3-2 (a)
Edgeworth – Drew Magic 1-1 (h)
Edgeworth meet a resurgent Lambton in the opening match of round two and this is sure to be a tight contest with not much between the sides on paper.
The Jaffas last match against the Eagles was probably one of their most disappointing of last season. In most of their matches against the top four sides, last season Lambton gave a very good account of themselves but not in round 10 at Jack McLaughlan Oval. They were brushed aside 5-0 and they will look to erase those memories on Saturday.
It’s been four matches and two and a half years since Edgeworth last tasted defeat against the Jaffas, which was back in Lambton’s Championship winning season in 2014. A win here for Lambton would be huge and to go five points clear of the Eagles after just two matches would do a lot for their premiership aspirations.
Lambton’s performance against Hamilton was the tale of two halves, with the Jaffas very disappointing in the first half before coming out in the second and controlling the match on their way to a late 3-2 victory.
Pat Brown was very impressive off the bench and you would expect he will come into the starting side after that kind of performance. But, James Pascoe might want to use him off the bench again and surprise the Eagles in the second half.
Edgeworth, on the other hand, produced a gritty display in their hard-fought opening round match against Broadmeadow. They went a man and a goal down in the space of a minute but had the resolve to fight back and claim a point – one that is sure to be a big boost for the Eagles psychologically.
Ayden Brice will miss the match for Edgeworth after his red card last weekend, while Kieran Sanders will remain on the sidelines for another week with suspension. Ridge Marpu will be available for the Jaffas after missing last weekend’s match.
What the Coaches Said:
James Pascoe (Lambton)
“To kick-off with Hamilton away first and then Edgeworth second, they’re almost like two Grand Finals in the first two weeks and if you don’t play them at Grand Final intensity you are going to get hurt so we expect a really good game of football this weekend. It could set up a brilliant start for us if we are good enough to get the result and move to six points.”
“The beauty of the squad I’ve been able to put together this year is that I can rotate people and get an element of freshness going into Saturday’s game even though they’ve had two days extra recovery by playing on Friday night. We’ll be fit and sharp and mobile from the start of the game.”
Damian Zane (Edgeworth)
“I’ve been pretty big on the defensive side of the game. I think the attacking side of the game comes naturally to us and I think we sometimes get underrated for our defence. I think if we can get off to a good start and defend well I’m confident.”
“Whenever you play Lambton, over the last few years, the goal is to at least breakeven in the midfield against Jobe because if he gets the upper hand he can really get them going. Probably the only other thing [to worry about] is our finally delivery hasn’t been great. We’ve been getting into great positions and not taking advantage of it and that something we want to improve.”
Key: Can Edgeworth cope with Lambton’s pace out wide in Luke Remington and Ridge Marpu?
Broadmeadow Magic v Weston Bears
6 pm Saturday 18th March at Magic Park
Last Meeting: Round 12, 2016: Broadmeadow 1 (Virgili (p) 58’) Weston 0 at Magic Park.
Ladder: Broadmeadow 7th (1) Weston 6th (1)
Broadmeadow – Drew Eagles 1-1 (a)
Weston – Drew Roosters 1-1 (h)
Weston’s young side will face a tough test when they face off against Broadmeadow Magic on Saturday night. After a fighting display against the Roosters, the young Bears will look to take the battle to Broadmeadow.
The recent fixtures between the sides have been low scoring affairs, with the last three matches between the sides only producing 2 goals and even though the Bears finished dead last in 2016, when they met Broadmeadow each time they took it to them having a 0-0 draw in Weston and only going down 1-0 at Magic Park in a controversial match.
The last time the Bears won, was back in 2015 – and what a thrilling contest it was. Down 2-0 early on the Bears fought back to win 4-3 courtesy of a late Jake Millsteed winner. Millsteed scored the Bears opener last weekend and will have fond memories of the ground.
Broadmeadow will come into the match a little disappointed after giving up their 1-0 advantage to a ten man Edgeworth side. New recruit Scott Robertson gave away a penalty in the final quarter hour of the match and Keigo Moriyasu made no mistake as they shared the points.
What the Coaches Said:
Ruben Zadkovich (Broadmeadow)
“Every game is tough. They’ve got a very young team, looking at the list of players meaning they’ll be enthusiastic. To be honest most teams bring their intensity when they play at Magic Park. It’s a good facility and against a strong team, they normally lift. It’ll be a tough game.”
“I was totally proud of the boys, in that scenario playing against ten men, it’s a difficult scenario. You see it all over the world that teams can lose their way a bit playing against ten men. The ten men obviously know they’ve got to lift their intensity if they are going to get anything out of the game. You won’t find me slaughtering my boys, they were fantastic [against Edgeworth].”
Steve Piggott (Weston)
“I’m looking forward to the clash with Broadmeadow and it will be a good test of where we are at. Hopefully, with the 6 o’clock kick-off, it won’t be as warm on Saturday but we won’t know until then. It’ll be a great test for us. But, we need to improve in front of goals and not make the silly mistakes we did last week.”
“People make predictions and they talk the talk and say this teams going to finish here and this teams going to finish there. In the early rounds, anything can happen and it wouldn’t be the first time that a team told they are going to finish tenth would upset a team that is going to finish in the top two. It can happen. We can only see on the day who wants it the most.”
Key: Weston will be no pushovers here and Broadmeadow cannot afford to take them lightly.
Charlestown City Blues v Maitland Magpies
2.30pm Sunday 19th March at Lisle Carr Oval
Last Meeting: Round 12, 2016: Maitland 2 (M.Thompson (p) 18’, 78’) Charlestown 0 at Lisle Carr Oval.
Ladder: Charlestown 11th (0) Maitland 9th (0)
Charlestown – Lost Phoenix 1-2 (h)
Maitland – Bye
Maitland gets their season underway against Charlestown after having the bye in the opening round and will be looking for a positive start under new coach Phil Dando.
Dando has arrived at the eleventh hour after Maitland were in need of a coach with a B-Licence after Dean Heffernan stepped down from his player/coach role in the off-season due to work commitments. Matt Thompson has been doing most of the work with the side in the pre-season so expect the coaching decision to not have too much of an impact on the Magpies.
With new signings Josh Dutton-Black (UK), Shane Cansdell-Sheriff (Manly) and Andrew Pawiak (Jets Youth) Maitland should be in the hunt come to the end of the season and now with the coaching worries all sorted, the side can focus on the season ahead.
Charlestown comes into the match disappointed after the first-round showing against Valentine where they were right in the hunt until a stray boot collected striker Corey Atkinson in the head and he was forced from the ground just before half-time. With the loss of Atkinson’s pace up front, the Blues struggled to create any clear-cut chances from that point on. A win is a must for the Blues here. While two losses to start the season won’t be the end of the world, Shane Pryce would want to get some points on the board in what is expected to be a tight competition this year.
Interestingly, Charlestown hasn’t beaten Maitland since they returned to the PS4 NPL. They last beat the Magpies in Division One back in July 2011, it was 5-1 that afternoon.
Maitland’s Jordan Elphick is expected to play despite having a tight calf during the week, while Charlestown will be without Dan Casciaroli (suspended) and Corey Atkinson will be on the sidelines for at least two weeks with an eye injury sustained in Saturday’s clash with Valentine. Jarryd Johnson and Cameron Hughes will be available for selection for Sunday’s match after being unavailable last weekend.
What the Coaches Said:
Shane Pryce (Charlestown)
“It’s just about attitude and commitment. We lacked urgency in our football so hopefully, there is a change is our urgency to shut down players.”
“I don’t think we’ve got someone as quick as Corey [Atkinson] so we might just change a few things. His injury really definitely changed things on the weekend. Injuries and the red card obviously changed how we wanted to go about things. But, that’s football. We hung in there and if it wasn’t for Archie [Nathan Archbold] making saves it probably would have been a lot more.”
Phil Dando (Maitland)
“After a number of years working with the kids, it’s nice to be back in senior football which I always enjoyed. There are some quality players in this comp now. At our own club, we’ve got Matt Thompson, Shane Cansdell-Sheriff who’s been 20 years over in the UK. There’s [Daniel] McBreen at Edgeworth and Jobe Wheelhouse and Joel Griffiths which makes it a more attractive proposition for spectators and players alike.”
“I’m very pleased with the attitude and application the squad has shown. I had a look on Saturday at an intra-club trial they had and I took training on Tuesday night. The response was good and the quality was great. I’ve just had one session with the guys and we worked on one particular pattern of play and if we can get that right the rest can worry about us.”
Key: Maitland’s defence was outstanding last season but found it tough in front of goal at times. If they can start well in attack here, they will only grow in confidence.
Lake Macquarie City Roosters v Valentine Phoenix
2.30 pm Sunday 19th March at Macquarie Field
Last Meeting: NewFM Division Round 19, 2015: Valentine 4 (S.McGinley x 3, Adcock x 1) Lake Macquarie 0 at Macquarie Field.
Ladder: Lake Macquarie 5th (1) Valentine 2nd (3)
Lake Macquarie – Drew Bears 1-1 (a)
Valentine – Won Blues 2-1 (a)
Valentine travels to Macquarie Field on Sunday afternoon for the first top grade local derby in two years. The home side will be looking to erase the memories of 2015 where they and the Phoenix battled it out for promotion to the PlayStation 4 NPL Norther NSW.
Valentine won both matches that year and in the final wash-up, those two results would be the difference between promotion and staying in the NewFM Division. Their last meeting would have been the most painful for the Roosters, as Valentine piled on the pain in a 4-0 victory.
The Phoenix started off the season with a solid 2-1 victory away against Charlestown. US import Jalon Brown was outstanding for the visitors on Saturday night posing questions of the Charlestown defence all evening. The Roosters will need to be wary of him come Sunday.
Lake Macquarie comes into the match after taking a point away from Rockwell Automation Park last weekend. While coach Anthony Richards was pleased with the point, he was disappointed that his side let Weston back into the came on two occasions after taking a 1-0 and 2-1 lead in the match.
Lake Macquarie’s Trent Patridge, Matt Toohey and Tom Walker and all expected to come into considerations for Sunday’s match. Scott Carter has been cleared of any head injury after suffering a knock on Saturday night for Valentine and will play as well.
What the Coaches Said:
Anthony Richards (Lake Macquarie)
“I’m excited about the first local derby at our ground. Valentine brings something different to the game as well. They are a hard working physical side so they will be in our face. They’ve got a bit of quality there as well. Zac Sneddon from Weston is a good young kid who I rate fairly highly. It’s a different game against them, it will be a physically demanding one.”
“I guess for us it’s no different. It’s a new game every week, a new team. Every team has their ‘Joel Griffiths’ or those really good players. It’s exciting for us, we get to play against another really good team.”
Darren Sills (Valentine)
“Lakes got a good result [up at Weston] for their first game and I’m sure Richo [Anthony Richards] will have them fired up for their first home game in the NPL. I drive past their ground every day and it looks in fantastic order. We played them at that ground in a trial after Christmas and they gave us a touch-up. They won 5-2 in that match so we are under no illusions. They’ve got some quality across the park including Sam Walker, and he scored a hat-trick in that trial.”
“Jalon [Brown] is a terrific person and he has fitted in really well here. He’s got a job now, he’s got a vehicle and a place to live. The players love him and he’s got a great sense of humour. On the park, he is very fit and can run the full 90 minutes. He was playing right up to the time he left the USA. He didn’t score on the weekend, but he made the defence think a lot and that’s what it is all about. If he can keep that up we’ll be really happy.”
Key: Can the Roosters cope with Valentine’s lethal pace in the front third?