PHOTO: VALENTINE SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
Adamstown v Merewether (3 v 2)
At Myamblah Oval
Saturday, August 12 2.15pm
Last start: Merewether won 2-1 in first leg of semi-final at Adamstown last Sunday.
In the season proper: Played three times. Merewether won 6-0 on April 26 and 9-1 on May 7; Adamstown won 3-2 on June 25.
Squad news: Adamstown have lost goalkeeper Olivia Sneddon to injury. Sneddon was concussed in the first leg of the semi-final. Natalie Wiseman will take her place in goals. Defender Jorjia Hogg returns after being out through injury. Merewether captain Lori Depczynski sustained a cork in last weekend’s clash and will be given until game day to prove her fitness.
What the coaches say: Adamstown coach Lou D’Amico knows they need to attack the game but said “we also need to be careful”.
“We’ll be going for the win but we’ve got to play smart,” D’Amico said.
Merewether coach Cassie Koppen was approaching this match “as a do-or-die semi-final”.
“Obviously Adamstown are going to be pressing hard for a couple of goals,” she said.
“We’ll just stick to our own game and try to keep possession and hopefully score some more goals because at the end of the day it’s not a big enough lead to be comfortable.”
Bottom line: The first leg of this two-legged semi-final was locked at one-all at the break last weekend. United probably had the better of possession but Adamstown played with a lot of hunger and urgency and both sides had good chances on goal go begging. The loss of Sneddon will be felt – she made some crucial saves before being forced from the field through injury last weekend – but with only one goal in it, this tie still very much hangs in the balance. Expect another tight one.
Mid North Coast v Warners Bay (4 v 1)
At John Street Oval
Sunday, August 13, 2.15pm
Last start: Warners Bay won 4-2 in the first leg of the semi-final in Taree last Saturday.
This season: Warners Bay won 3-2 on April 23, 9-2 on July 1 and 2-1 last Sunday.
Squad news: Mid North Coast have been hard hit by injury this year and will have all fit players available. Warners Bay wingers Sophie Stapleford and Sass Seaborn have missed the past few games through injury but are expected to get some game time this weekend.
What the coaches say: Warners Bay player-coach Cassidy Davis said they will treat this game just like any other despite going in with a comfortable lead.
“Some might say we’ve got a 4-2 lead and we should sit back and be smart, but I still think we’re going to go for it and try to score more goals and play good football,” Davis said.
“We need to be playing how we want to play if we do make the grand final and we will have the same approach as any other game.
“Obviously Mid North Coast need to beat us and they could come out and attack and play with a bit more risk, but we’ve just got to play our game.”
Mid North Coast coach Mick Day was not giving anything away other than to say they would make “quite a few changes for the game”.
“The girls are coming off a great week of training,” Day said.
“We are slowly repairing and if we execute our game plan it will be the upset of the season.”
Bottom line: Mid North Coast are well and truly up against it in this one but they finished the stronger of the two sides last weekend, scoring two late goals to bridge a four-goal deficit to two heading into this fixture. If they can stay patient, frustrate the competition heavyweights and snatch a goal on the counter attack before Warners Bay score then this could get interesting. Anything can happen in 90 minutes of football and this one won’t be over until the final whistle blows.