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Sunday, July 23, 2.15pm
South Wallsend v Wallsend
At Walker Fields
Last start: South Wallsend beat Merewether 3-1 last night; Wallsend lost 3-2 to Mid North Coast on Sunday.
This season: They drew 1-1 in Round 6 and 2-2 in Round 13.
Position on ladder: South Wallsend fifth, 19 points; Wallsend sixth, 11 points.
Squad news: Wallsend will be depleted through unavailability while South Wallsend will be without key player Gemma Pearce. Wolves coach Gary Wilson was impressed with 15-year-olds Taylor Bryde and Tahlia Gossner, who filled in against Merewether, and both are expected to be in the mix again this weekend.
What the coaches say: South Wallsend coach Gary Wilson described the Wolves’ win over Merewether last night as “what we’re capable of”.
“When we’ve got the right players playing, we’ll beat anyone,” Wilson said. “When we don’t have them, we’re well back.”
“I’m super happy for the girls; it’s been one of those seasons which at times has promised so much, but we’ve had a lot of variables. But we’re in with a chance and hopefully we can lift again for the weekend.”
Wallsend assistant coach Strat Kapalos said execution in the final third remained their biggest focus.
“The local derby is always a tough encounter,” Kapalos said. “South Wallsend go to another level when they play us and we will be expecting Gary to have the girls ready to play and are prepared for a physical game.”
“Not much has separated the teams this year in results and if we can complete our goalscoring opportunities we are confident in securing all three points.”
Bottom line: These two sides have been inseparable in two match-ups this season but South Wallsend will take plenty of momentum into this clash after their giant-killing efforts against Merewether. The win kept alive the Wolves’ hopes of a finals appearance and there will be no holding back this weekend as they push for fourth place. Expect a tight match but South Wallsend look set to take this one.
Merewether v Mid North Coast
At Myamblah Oval
Last start: Merewether lost 3-1 to South Wallsend last night; Mid North Coast beat Wallsend 3-2 on Sunday.
This season: Merewether won 2-1 in Round 6 and 4-2 in Round 13.
Position on ladder: Merewether second, 39 points; Mid North Coast fourth, 20 points.
Squad news: Merewether were without six players last night but coach Cassie Koppen was hoping to be near full strength on Sunday while Mid North Coast will have all fit players available.
What the coaches say: Merewether coach Cassie Koppen said the focus now was to take maximum points ahead of the finals series.
“It’s disappointing but it probably relieves some pressure off us,” Koppen said.
“The premiership is probably gone, so we’ll try a few things now and will be looking to prepare for finals.”
Mid North Coast coach Mick Day conceded it was a tough finish to the season proper, taking on Merewether then leaders Warners Bay, but his charges “are looking forward to the challenge”.
Bottom line: United will be hurting after the midweek loss to South Wallsend and expect them to be fired up to make amends this weekend. It is crunch time for Mid North Coast – they are just one point ahead of fifth-placed South Wallsend now and will be desperate for points. Can’t see Mid North Coast beating a full-strength Merewether side but they have put up some good fights in both games this season.
Adamstown v Thornton
At Adamstown Oval
Last start: Adamstown lost 4-0 to Warners Bay; Thornton beat South Wallsend 1-0.
This season: Adamstown have won 2-0 in Round 6 and 4-0 in Round 13.
Position on ladder: Adamstown third, 26 points; Thornton last, six points.
Squad news: Adamstown have Taylor Kelly out through unavailability, Isobel Cootes is injured and Elodie Dagg remains under an injury cloud after missing their last outing. Thornton coach Robbie Richardson said they had winter illness sweeping through the squad and would wait until the weekend to finalise his line-up.
What the coaches say: Thornton’s season may have been over weeks ago but coach Robbie Richardson said there remained plenty of incentive for his side.
“We’ll be keen for the points and the win last weekend came at the right time,” Richardson said.
“I’m also using the [NNSW Women’s] State Cup as motivation, playing spots are up for grabs for that.”
Adamstown coach Lou D’Amico said the goal for his team was to “be running into some good form ahead of the semis”.
“Thornton will be buoyed after last week’s win,” he said.
“We have a few players out but I will call on our 18s and it will be a bit a reward for some of them.”
Bottom line: Adamstown have won both previous encounters this season and are quietly going about their business ahead of finals time. They should win this one but Thornton showed last week they had plenty of fight left and will be playing with nothing to lose.
Warners Bay – bye
Points table: Warners Bay 43, Merewether 39, Adamstown 26, Mid North Coast 20, South Wallsend 19, Wallsend 11, Thornton 6.