Competitions

PS4 NPL NNSW Round 7 Preview

April 20th, 2017
PHOTO: Sproule Sports Focus

Ben Homer

Match of the Round

Edgeworth Eagles v Hamilton Olympic

6 pm Saturday 22nd April at Jack McLaughlan Oval

Last Meeting: Round 14, 2016: Hamilton 3 Edgeworth 1 at Darling Street Oval.

Ladder: Edgeworth 8th (5), Hamilton 4th (9)

Last 3 Starts (most recent first):

Edgeworth – Drew Magpies 0-0 (h), Lost Jaffas 1-2 (a), Won Rosebud 6-0 (h)

Hamilton – Won Magpies 2-0 (a), Lost Blues 1-2 (h), Won Jets 4-1 (h)

Bottom Line

Two sides who were expected to be in or at least around the top four by this stage of the season are suddenly under pressure with last years Premiers sitting in eight and Hamilton in seventh. This shapes as a crucial match for both sides and a loss here will leave them with some catching up to do.

Edgeworth starting the season in positive fashion, taking a point away from a clash with Broadmeadow Magic, before crushing the hapless Adamstown Rosebud. Since then a loss to the Jaffas and a draw with Maitland – where they dominated large periods – has seen them fall down the ladder.

However, with the Eagles having only played four matches and a majority of sides in the top four having played six (besides Olympic who have played five), it is by no means panic stations.

Hamilton Olympic, on the other hand, will be full of confidence after responding to their defeat at the weekend with a 2-0 victory against the previously undefeated Maitland. Danny Ireland was outstanding in the match pulling off some match-winning saves for Olympic in the second half and couldn’t have responded any better after a disappointing showing on Saturday.

It has been Olympic with the upper hand in the recent clashes winning the last two – they were the only sides last season which Edgeworth couldn’t beat. Olympic have also won four of the last six between the sides – but crucially one of those losses was the 2015 Grand Final.

Edgeworth are at full strength this week, while Hamilton are still without Rhys Cooper (knee).

What the Coaches Said:

Damian Zane (Edgeworth)

“This is must win. I’ll go as far as saying if we lose this game I don’t think we can win the premiership. That’s how big it is. I know it’s early but I think as the second round goes on there will be less and less upsets, that’s just normal. Depth starts to come into it and I think there is still that gap, probably the top half of the table as far as depth. So, it’s massive for us.”

“We haven’t been playing bad, but there is just something missing and I’ve got to find that or we will get left behind. We are in a bit of a slumber. We are playing quite well if you look at everything. I’m not unhappy with how we are playing. We have five or six defenders which have been there for three years whereas in attack that is where we [aren’t as cohesive]. Kieran [Sanders] is new, Adam Cawley is new so that makes sense that it isn’t firing on all cylinders.”

Mick Bolch (Hamilton)

“You are never confident going out there [to Jack McLaughlan Oval]. Last year they swept everything else before them so look it is going to be probably our toughest battle so far. I know Zaney [Damian Zane] wouldn’t be happy with the start they have had. I’ve watched their games and they have dominated every game they have played and probably should have won all three.”

“I wouldn’t really go that far [to say we have the psychological edge]. The one big game we have had with them in the last two years was the Grand Final and they beat us in that. They to me are still the yardstick and I expect them to be in the top two at the end of the year. Sooner or later things click for sides like that and I’m sure he’ll [Damian Zane] have them set up and ready to go for the weekend.”

Key: Mick Bolch. He has been the only coach to defeat Damian Zane on more than one occasion since Zane began coaching in the PS4 NPL. Can he mastermind another triumph on enemy territory?

 

Maitland Magpies v Valentine Phoenix

7.30 pm Saturday 22nd April at Cooks Square Park

Last Meeting: Round 11, 2016: Maitland 0 Valentine 1 at Cooks Square Park.

Ladder: Maitland 6th (7), Weston 9th (3)

Past 3 Starts (most recent first):

Maitland – Lost Olympic 0-2 (h), Won Blues 2-1 (a), Drew Eagles 0-0 (a)

Valentine – Won Rosebud 2-0 (a), Won Jaffas 3-2 (a), Lost Lakes 0-3 (a)

Bottom Line

Two rivals from the 2014 NewFM League season where Maitland were promoted and Valentine was forced to wait another season for their chance in the PlayStation®4 NPL Northern NSW; the Magpies and the Phoenix have played some classics over the years.

There were no matches more dramatic in the 2016 season that the round two contest involving these two foes. Wilson Edwards (Valentine) and former Maitland player-coach Dean Heffernan were given their marching orders in the 25th minute after a scuffle in a match filled with plenty of niggles.

Matt Thompson blocked a clearance from Phoenix keeper Beyhan Irmarko, controlled and scored in the final minute to win the match for the Magpies in one of the matches of the season. The Phoenix returned to serve in round 11 with a 1-0 win to ensure the ledger is all square in the PS4 NPL Northern NSW.

Valentine have had a topsy-turvy start to 2016, but the crucial fact is they have not drawn any matches. While they may have lost two, three wins from five have been enough to keep them in the top four.

Maitland had an undefeated run over their opening three matches, however, a midweek defeat to Hamilton has brought them back to the field. While they have just played four matches their defensive record is one of the best in the league conceding five goals so far in their four matches.

Andrew Pawiak missed Wednesday’s match with a stomach bug and should be back, while winger Ryan Clarke (hamstring) is available. Blake Thompson (knee) needs to be assessed before the match.

The visitors Valentine have Alex Faulkner out, as he attends his brother’s wedding in the US, while Justin Micallef has left the club to seek an opportunity in Sydney.

What the Coaches Said:

Darren Sills (Valentine)

“Clean sheets are great but I’d rather be winning games. I like watching goals. I don’t care if the opposition score them as long as we score more. I like it when it is 3-2, I like those sort of games where it is a bit more exciting. If you want to watch boring football, people tend to get turned off by it. I like it when there is action from end to end.”

“I wouldn’t have [expected] this position on the ladder, but I wanted three out of five wins [to start the season]. That is what our aim was to have at least three out of five. If you had of said to me at the beginning of the season which games, I would have thought we probably could have knocked over Lakes and probably wouldn’t have been able to beat Jaffas so it turned out the other way around. We are still on track, where we are. These next two weeks are really important to us.”

Phil Dando (Maitland)

“They [Valentine] have had some good results. The new American lad seems to be doing well for them, we’ve just got to keep on keeping on. If we are at our best we are a match for anyone in the competition. Once again [with the busy schedule], we will have to look at rotating players. We’ve just got to manage the situation as best we can at the moment.”

“As far as playing at home goes there is no reason for it to cause any problems. Like all teams, you want to make your home ground a bit of a fortress. It should be a daunting place to come to the top of the hill especially in the middle of winter. We need to use that to our advantage. Maybe it was just a blip last season, I don’t know, but, we will be certainly looking to win the majority of our home games this year.”

Key: Consistency. After keeping their first PS4 NPL Northern NSW clean sheet last match against Adamstown, can Valentine maKe it two from two and three wins in a row?

 

Weston Bears v Newcastle Jets Youth

2.30 pm Sunday 22nd April at Rockwell Automation Park

Last Meeting: Round 10, 2016: Jets Youth 3 Weston 0 at Rockwell Automation Park.

Ladder: Weston 9th (3), Jets Youth 11th (1)

Past 3 Starts (most recent first):

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

Weston – Drew Rosebud 3-3 (a), Drew Jaffas 2-2 (h), Lost Magic 0-2 (a)

Bottom Line

Two of the youngest sides in the competition do battle on Sunday afternoon as both look to climb off the bottom rungs of the ladder and move into the mid-table.

While just two points separate the sides, over their four matches, Weston have looked the better of the two – losing just once. That was against Broadmeadow in round two. The Bears have been competitive in all matches it has just been their inability to strike the killer blow and claim the three points which has hurt them so far this season.

They have shown grit, character and determination in coming from behind to take a point from matches against Lambton and Adamstown but it is their finishing which Steve Piggott wants to improve which will take them to the next level.

The Jets have shown their ability to score goals this season, especially in round one where they put four past Adamstown. But, it has been at the back where the leaks have occurred conceding four in all four matches they have played this season.

With the Jets Hyundai A-League season all wrapped up, it will give a chance to some of the youth players from the first team squad to come into the line-up including Harrison Sawyer and Kristian Brymora who should continue to spark the Jets in the front third.

The Jets usually struggle with the physicality of the PS4 NPL sides, so against a young less physical Weston side, expect an even, fast paced and fluent contest.

In a positive for the Jets Youth, Kristian Brymora (hamstring) is a chance of returning as is Solomon Vaiika (concussion), Ryan Smith (ankle) and Leroy Jennings (glandular fever). Jets striker Harry Sawyer misses the Youth team cut off by two hours, so he may be shopped around to other PS4 NPL NNSW clubs during the transfer window.

What the Coaches Said:

Steve Piggott (Weston)

“We haven’t played in two weeks so we are looking forward to it. It will be good to get back on the horse and battle for three points. Again, they have trained well and you can only do so much when you haven’t got games lined up. I can’t wait for the game.”

“Our front young two, they are going alright the two 17-year-olds. But, sometimes we are a bit naive and they have got to do better in front of goal. For me, the backlines got to stop leaking goals. They make some silly errors at times, but, they are young and that’s what happens, just a little bit of concentration lapses. I’m sure if we just do those things well and simply we’ll be ok this week.”

Clayton Zane (Jets Youth)

I haven’t had the chance to see them [Weston] play. I’ve just heard some reports that they have been competitive even though they have some younger boys in there. I know what Piggo [Steve Piggott] is like, he makes his teams hard to beat. I think it’s a game that both teams with look at as a chance of picking up three points. I would have thought it’s a game where the team that defends the best with come away with the spoils.”

“Monday was the first chance we’ve had to get back on the grass. We had one weekend game, we took them up to the beach and just found a patch of grass and just got a touch on the ball, but, we couldn’t get on the field at the Uni so we have had one tactical session and one conditioning session, so it’s not been ideal. But, that was out focus, defending in the back third and we are doing things right.”

Key: Can the Jets put a stop to their leaky defence?

 

Charlestown City Blues v Lambton Jaffas

2.30 pm Sunday 22nd April at Lisle Carr Oval

Last Meeting: Round 14, 2016: Charlestown 0 Lambton 0 at Lisle Carr Oval.

Ladder: Charlestown 3rd (10), Lambton 1st (11)

Past 3 Starts (most recent first):

Charlestown – Won Olympic 2-1 (a) Lost Magpies 1-2 (h), Won Magic 1-0 (h)

Lambton – Drew Magic 1-1 (h), Won Roosters 4-0 (a), Lost Phoenix 2-3 (h)

Bottom Line

A resurgent Charlestown outfit meet a Jaffas side who sit top of the ladder and looking for consistency. While the Jaffas sit atop the table after six matches, they haven’t won consecutive matches this season.

Charlestown have responded emphatically after a slow start to the season to win three of their last four matches which has seen them surge up to third spot – just one point off the first placed Jaffas.

Having a game plan is one part of the puzzle, but sticking to it is an entirely different challenge and last weekend Charlestown did it superbly.

Playing against a side who had put nine past them to no reply last year Shane Pryce’s men had to do something different and they did. They pulled off a 2-1 victory which had plenty of evidence of research and homework executed perfectly.

Lambton struggled to hold possession in their match with Broadmeadow last week and were subsequently outplayed.

Like most coaches, James Pascoe has relished the chance to work with his side on the pitch this week with some sunny weather ensuring the ground have dried out. When they get it right they are unstoppable, but it has been as consistent as Pascoe would like.

In an interesting side note these two sides will play each other in a couple of weeks in the only all-NPL FFA Cup match in round four.

Charlestown’s Andy Kjiln (quad) is out for the home side while Jaffas leading scorers Pat Brown (knee) and Joel Griffiths (hip flexor) will both miss the match. Luke Remington was cleared of an elbow injury and will play.

What the Coaches Said:

Shane Pryce (Charlestown)

“We are playing the top team so they’ve got to be shown that respect in my mind. They aren’t on top because they fluked it, they are on top because they have earnt it. They have changed players and their mindset I think this year so that is why they are on top, in my mind.”

“They are playing a different formation that is obviously working for them. That’s going to be a challenge for us, to be able to break down or adapt or get on top of their structure. They are obviously on top of the league and they are obviously getting some success from it and that brings confidence. If we don’t turn up to play the top team will continue to be the top team.”

James Pascoe (Lambton)

“For the first time this season we will be able to do three good sessions in the build-up to the game so I’m happy with the preparation. Obviously, we’ve got to do without a couple of players that we would like to have involved but at least the weather has given us a chance to prepare the boys who are going to step in for those players, better than would have been the case if things stayed the same from a weather point of view.”

“The issue we had [last week] with our control of the ball was created by ourselves and how we defended. The way we are set up this year, specific roles for people and the roles that people have in the wingback areas and the two side centre-backs, if those two jobs aren’t done to the letter it basically causes us to be a man down further up the pitch and teams get a bit of possession on us and then we get caught a little deep, it’s hard to play our successfully from the top of your own box.”

Key: Can Lambton cope with the loss of Brown and Griffiths who have contributed 11 of their 14 goals this season?

 

Adamstown Rosebud v Broadmeadow Magic

2.30 pm Tuesday 25th April at Adamstown Oval

Last Meeting: Round 10, 2016: Adamstown 3 Broadmeadow 3 at Adamstown Oval

Ladder: Adamstown 10th (2), Broadmeadow 6th (8)

Last 3 Starts (most recent first):

Adamstown – Lost Roosters 1-2 (h), Lost Phoenix 0-2 (a), Drew Bears 3-3 (h)

Broadmeadow – Drew Jaffas 1-1 (a), Lost Blues 0-1 (a), Lost Roosters 1-4 (h)

Bottom Line

Adamstown are in a rut and they just can’t find a way out of it. With three wins out of their last 24 PS4 NPL Northern NSW matches, it has been a horror last year for the most successful club in Northern NSW.

But, in between all that disappointment, Adamstown won the inaugural NNSWF Heritage Cup this season. So where has it all gone wrong for the proud club? At the back, it seems.

Errors coming out of their own defensive third have crippled the Rosebuds and apart from the Jets Youth, they have the worst games to goals conceded ratio in the league – conceding on average three goals a game.

It doesn’t take an expert to work out that they need to tighten they defence and fast. They’ve conceded 71 goals in those 24 matches mentioned earlier. It’s no surprise they’ve won just three of those.

After two weeks of underwhelming results for Broadmeadow, they bounced back against the Jaffas but still struggled to put the ball in the back of the net. It’s been a common theme for Magic this season, scoring only eight in six matches. Just five of those have been from open play.

Dino Fajkovic was outstanding for Broadmeadow in the first half on Good Friday and could have had at least two if not for the brilliant goalkeeping display of, Man of the Match, Daniel March. If Magic bring a similar attacking intent and are more ruthless in front of goal it could get ugly for Adamstown.

Rosebud’s Zaell Ford (Melbourne) and Jordan Harrison (Pacific Islands) both return from trips away. Justin Tannock (hip flexor) will return to the side. Broadmeadow will be at full strength.

What the Coaches Said:

Pete McGuinness (Adamstown)

“They’ve got some quality on their roster and they’ve got Ruben who is obviously working with them to play the way he wants to play. I’ve seen some performances that have been pretty good from them. They’ll be tough, the experience they have on the field versus the experience we have on the field is probably a little higher so it’ll be a challenge.”

“Everyone still keeps applying themselves. They all show up at training three nights a week and they do the right things in and around what we expect at training. It’s obvious they are disappointed, you’ve only got to look at them after the games. The last two weeks, in particular, they have been very devastated in particular not getting something out of those games.”

Ruben Zadkovich (Broadmeadow)

“It’s not easy, I’m probably asking different things. Some of the boys have been at the club a long time so they’ve got their own ideas and their own ways of thinking the way the game should be played, but their attitude has been pretty good, they’ve all jumped on board and they are all trying to implement the game plan as best they can. It was evident the other day against Lambton that when they get it right it’s quite an attacking style of football and it’s just one that is going to bring the best out of them.”

“I’m happy with how it’s coming along. To be honest I think we’ve been a little bit hard done by the last weeks and probably should have picked up points. If you put an extra four points on where we are now, then we would be sitting a lot prettier. Sometimes results and where you are sitting can be a confidence booster. That’s the only thing that is disappointing that we haven’t quite been paid off in the last couple of weeks.”

Key: A Winning Mentality. Adamstown needs to develop one and fast.

Related Topics:
NPL Premier Competitions

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