Competitions

PS4 NPL NNSW Round 13 Preview

June 1st, 2017
PHOTO: SPROULE SPORTS FOCUS

BEN HOMER  

Match of the Round
Edgeworth Eagles v Lambton Jaffas
2.30pm Sunday 4th June at Jack McLaughlan Oval

Last Meeting: Round 2, 2017: Lambton 2 Edgeworth 1 at Arthur Edden Oval.

Ladder: Edgeworth 1st (24pts), Lambton 2nd (23)

Last 3 Starts (most recent first):

Edgeworth –Won Magic 3-0 (a), Won Lakes (a), Won Phoenix 1-0 (h)

Lambton – Won Olympic 3-2 (h), Lost Jets 1-2 (h), Won Magpies 2-1 (a)

Bottom Line

It’s a top of the table clash between the two best sides over the opening 12 rounds of the PlayStation®4 NPL Northern NSW. This match will have a significant bearing on the premiership race and a spot in the PS4 NPL Finals Series at the season’s end.

The clash will be the first of two meetings between the clubs in a week, with the pair squaring off a week later in Round 6 of the Westfield FFA Cup.

The Eagles come into this fixture with their equal best-undefeated run under coach Damian Zane. Since, their only loss of the season – to Lambton, in round two – Edgeworth have been undefeated for eight matches, a record equal to last year’s run where they won eight straight matches.

In addition, Edgeworth have won their last six straight including a 3-0 demolition job of rivals Broadmeadow Magic on Sunday afternoon.

The Eagles dominated Broadmeadow from start to finish in their best performance of the season. Magic barely had a chance to score, while Edgeworth could have scored more with greater polish in the front third.

Lambton have been just as impressive as Edgeworth this season, losing just twice in their 11 matches and they sit just a point of the competition lead.

The Jaffas have excelled in the front third, scoring a league high 25 goals at an average of just over two per game. With Ryan Griffiths potentially joining his brother Joel in the side this weekend, Lambton could improve their attacking output in the second half of the season.

Lambton recorded just their second loss in round 11 against the Jets Youth and responded with a win against Hamilton Olympic on Sunday.

While it was a strange match, where Olympic dominated the first half. Lambton clawed their way into the lead through a second half burst. Those are the matches, against other top four opposition, that James Pascoe will be pleased his side are winning.

Edgeworth have to be slight favourites in this contest. They have been undefeated in their last 14 matches at Jack McLaughlan Oval.

Both sides have a full squad to pick from.

 

What the Coaches Said:

Damian Zane (Edgeworth)

“I just look back at that [round two] game and we conceded and it was probably that we switched off there for five minutes. Just after half-time, I thought they had the game for the first ten minutes, but, when I watched back on the tape I thought ‘what was I watching’. We were on top, and physically I thought they were gone and then we conceded the goal. In the end, Pat Brown was in a bit of form, and I think he can be a handful on his day.”

“I think upstairs I don’t like a lot of turnover in my squad so everyone knows how everyone plays. That’s why I have no problem rotating my squad. Even the new guys that come in, we do a lot of 11 v 11 and mix it up. I don’t keep the same eleven every time at training even. You get to know each other at training and that’s why I do it.”

James Pascoe (Lambton)

“We’re in a good spot at the minute. Michael Kantarovski will be back, Ridge Marpu is a chance however, I doubt I’ll risk him. Ryan Griffiths is a nice addition as well. From a ‘personnel’ point of view, we are all good. I just want to try and get a look at the surface to try and work out how best to approach it. I don’t know whether it will be a day to get the ball down and pass it or try and play the game in Edgeworth’s half a little bit more.”

“I think [the pitch] is [more suited to pragmatism] given what I have heard about it. I’ve not seen enough of Edgeworth’s play out there this year to know just yet. But, I’m hearing there is some shifting bits of turf that they have re-laid and there are some other bits that are still there. First of all, I hope it’s a safe surface, I don’t want to see anyone getting injured playing on it. It’s case of trying to tailor your game to minimise risk on that surface particularly in your own half.”

Key: Lambton haven’t lost away in 9 matches. Edgeworth are undefeated at home in 14. Can either side buck the trend?

 

Valentine Phoenix v Lake Macquarie City Roosters
2.30pm Saturday 3rd May at Cahill Oval

Last Meeting: Round 2, 2017: Lake Macquarie 3 Valentine 0 at Macquarie Field.

Ladder: Valentine 3rd (22), Lake Macquarie 5th (16)

Past 3 Starts (most recent first):

Valentine – Won Blues 3-1 (h), Lost Eagles 0-1 (h), Drew Olympic 1-1 (h)

Lakes – Won Bears 2-0 (h), Lost Eagles 1-2 (h), Drew Olympic 1-1 (a)

Bottom Line

It’s the second instalment of the Lake Macquarie derby as Valentine play host to Lakes to open round 13.

In contrast to the side’s position of the ladder, it was the Roosters who claimed the bragging rights in their first match since 2013 and they did so in style winning 3-0.

The Roosters struggled for momentum heading into round 12, having gone winless in their previous four PS4 NPL matches, which also included an upset loss to Zone Premier League side Cardiff City in the Westfield FFA Cup.

However, with club hero Sam Walker playing his 100th match for the club last Sunday, the Roosters rose to the occasion and with the help of a Walker special and a late strike from youngster Blake Green, Lakes took home all three points which now leaves them just two points from the top four.

For the Roosters to be within touching distance of the finals in their first season back in the top-flight is impressive, and a testament to the job Anthony Richards has done at the club.

Another coach who has impressed in 2017 is Valentine mentor Darren Sills who has led the Phoenix to third on the ladder and only two points of the ladder-leading Eagles.

Last weekend, with a side depleted due to absentees and injuries, the Phoenix dug deep and courtesy of two wonderful goals from Jalon Brown, Valentine recorded back to back victories.

Valentine will have plenty of confidence returning home to Cahill Oval, where they are undefeated in five matches so far. It is a stark contrast to their 2016 record at the ground where they couldn’t pick up a point in four matches there.

The Phoenix are favourites, but the plucky Roosters love these matches against top four opposition.

 

What the Coaches Said: 

Sam Griffin (Valentine Assistant)

“I’d like to think we are a different side now [since the round two loss]. I hope they have realised that you cannot have any games you take lightly. I think, especially the last couple of weeks we’ve been shown that. We got out of the jail in the last minute against Weston. Charlestown were one up on as last week and even the Suns a couple of weeks ago in the FFA Cup, we were down to them as well. There is not a game this year where you can’t be one-hundred percent ready to go.”

“We’ve stopped leaking goals like we were last year so we are giving ourselves a chance to stay in these games and go and win these games. It has come up a few times during the year when we re-cap after the games, it has been said that 12 months ago we would have lost these games, and we have got a group that are fearless now and they are happy to chase, and do whatever they’ve got to do to win games. It’s a really good habit to get into, winning is as much of a habit as losing.”

Anthony Richards (Lake Macquarie)

“It was a different scenario, way back [in round two]. We were young and wide-eyed and didn’t really know what we were in for, so we were keen. But, now the mighty Valentine are going really well, they in 3rd and doing really well. They’ve got some fantastic players. I think Matt Paul’s probably one of the elite players in the competition that people don’t see a lot of or give him credit. I think he’s a fantastic player and I’d love to have him in one of my sides.”

“I don’t know that we stepped up too much at all [on the weekend]. We probably didn’t play as well as we have been. But, we sort of took our chances and we probably were a little bit better at keeping the ball than we have been which was great. Look, I guess we still have that good work ethic which has got us within the range of beating one of those elite teams. Not a lot did change. I guess we just took our chances against Weston.” 

Key: Valentine’s defence. The Phoenix have conceded just 13 goals in 11 games. Can Sam Walker and his Roosters find an avenue to goal?

 

Hamilton Olympic v Adamstown Rosebud
2.30pm Sunday 4th June at Darling Street Oval

Last Meeting: Round 2, 2017: Adamstown 0 Hamilton 1 at Adamstown Oval.

Ladder: Hamilton 4th (18), Adamstown 11th (7)

Past 3 Starts (most recent first):

Hamilton – Lost Jaffas 2-3 (a), Won Magic 2-1 (a), Drew Roosters 1-1 (h)

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

 

Bottom Line

With Hamilton coach Michael Bolch this week announcing that he would leave Olympic at the end of the season, and rumours swirling that Pete McGuinness will be his replacement, this drama sets up an intriguing sideshow to the weekend’s match.

Olympic desperately want to win this one before they head into a three-week break without matches. A loss on Sunday could mean Hamilton are four points outside the top four before they even return to the field if Lake Macquarie and Maitland win both of their matches.

Rhys Cooper’s return last weekend was eagerly anticipated by Olympic fans and even in his cameo of the bench on Saturday he caused plenty of headaches for the Lambton defence. He will be in line to start this weekend and it would be a boost if he does.

Olympic won a tight battle against Adamstown last time the sides met courtesy of a late Scott Smith strike, however, it didn’t go their way against Lambton on the weekend falling 3-2 in a match where midfielder Sean Pratt hit the post on no less than four occasions.

Adamstown needed to win against the Jets on Saturday to jump out of the cellar, but over a four-minute period midway through the second half, the Rosebuds fell apart as they conceded three goals.

From that moment, it was always going to be an uphill battle and while they grabbed two back, they gave themselves too much work to do in the end.

Adamstown looked to be showing improvement, but, the weekend seemed like a step in the wrong direction as they conceded three for the second time in four weeks and their fifth time in 11 matches.

If they don’t tighten up on Sunday, Kane Goodchild and Scott Smith could have a field day.

Tommy Spencer (groin) and Pete McPherson (groin) are both out for Olympic, and Danny Ireland (illness) remains sidelined. Adamstown are at full strength.

 

What the Coaches Said:

Michael Bolch (Hamilton)

“I couldn’t comment on rumours as to who they are going to appoint. I can just comment on rumours that I’m not going to be there next year.”

“It’s just a matter of us taking chances. If we took our chances against Lambton, we’d be second place just up behind Edgeworth but, same old story we are creating plenty, but, we’ve got to be focused for 90 minutes. You can’t concede three goals and win games.”

“Rhys Cooper is in the top handful of players in the competition. What you’ve seen last weekend, he’d only done two training sessions and hadn’t played for eight weeks so he’ll be enormous for us coming into our run hopefully into the semi-finals.

Pete McGuinness (Adamstown)

“I’m only concentrating at the minute on this game. Like I said the other week, it’s game by game with us. For the most part of it we played really well last week. We just had a bad six-minute block that killed us. Outside of that I thought we probably dominated the game and should have won, but we didn’t.”

“This week, it’s a different style of football we are up against. They’ve got the front two, Scott Smith and Kane Goodchild. Obviously physical and smart players, they put themselves about. They get the ball to them pretty quickly. We’ve got to be in the physical contest from the word go and win our fair share of second phase play and try to be good with the ball when we have it.”

Key: Kane Goodchild. After a superb solo goal, last weekend he seems to be hitting top form. Can Adamstown find a way to stop him?

 

Maitland Magpies v Charlestown City Blues
2.30pm Sunday 4th June at Cooks Square Park

Last Meeting: Round 2, 2017: Charlestown 1 Maitland 2 at Lisle Carr Oval.

Ladder: Maitland 6th (16), Charlestown 8th (11)

Past 3 Starts (most recent first):

Maitland – Lost Rosebuds 1-3 (a), Lost Jaffas 1-2 (h), Won Magic 7-0 (a)

Charlestown – Lost Phoenix 1-3 (a), Lost Bears 0-3 (a), Drew Rosebud 2-2 (h)

Bottom Line

Both sides suffered frustrating defeats in their last encounter and have struggled for form of the last couple of weeks.

Maitland went down in a tight match against Lambton, before falling to the Rosebuds 3-1 in their worst performance of the season before the bye last weekend.

After 12 matches (NPL and FFA Cup) in 46 games to start the season it was a rest well deserved for Maitland and expect them to be fresh come Sunday.

Charlestown, lost to the Bears in round 10 in arguably their most disappointing performance this season and last weekend fell 3-1 to the 3rd-placed Valentine Phoenix.

Rene Ferguson scored the opener for the Blues on the weekend to continue his solid form in front of goal this season, however, it wasn’t enough as Valentine overran them in the second half.

The Blues have now lost two straight and four of their last five with a loss of players not helping the situation. They have slipped from the cusps of the top four to now just four points of the last spot in what has been a difficult period for them.

The last meeting between the sides was back in round two, and the Magpies got home in a tight battle that evening courtesy of a second-half penalty to Ben Martin.

If finals are to be achieved for the second year in a row for Maitland they need to come away from this match with points otherwise their hopes could start slipping away.

Magpies twin speedsters Ryan Clarke (ribs) and Matt Comerford (ankle) are both still out.

Matt Tull (ankle) and Daniel Laiman (knee) are out for Charlestown.

 

What the Coaches Said:

Phil Dando (Maitland)

“They are still a difficult team to beat, they haven’t been going too well of late. But, there is no easy games, we know that now. We are just going to give them the due respect that they deserve. We aren’t going to take anything for granted. We got the better of them last time but only just. It’s going to be a tough game and we need to be up for it and certainly be more up for it than we were against Adamstown.”

“The teams that we played have had a good look at us [since the 7-0 win over Magic]. Lambton were always going to be difficult – top of the table – and the way they played, they just stifled us and didn’t let us play and pinned us back. They recognised where our dangers were and they stopped us playing the way we want to play and Adamstown did to a certain extent as well. We’ve got to find ways now to counteract that.”

Shane Pryce (Charlestown)

“We have got to bounce back after leading and controlling at least the first part of the game against Valentine. We’ve got some big hurdles and some big questions to be asked inside the playing group because in my mind that wasn’t good enough. Your only as good as your last result and that was pretty poor from us so we’ve got to bounce back.”

“I think that a lot of work to be done. They’ll probably be a couple of guys that make their first grade starting debut based on the last couple of weeks’ effort from the playing group. [The issue of the past few weeks] has been just crucial football decisions at times from players that should know better and we are being punished for those mistakes. That is basically it.”

Key: Can Charlestown find a way to turn their form around?

 

Weston Bears v Broadmeadow Magic
2.30pm Sunday 4th June at Rockwell Automation Park

Last Meeting: Round 2, 2017: Broadmeadow 2 Weston 0 at Magic Park.

Ladder: Weston 10th (7), Broadmeadow 7th (12)

Last 3 Starts (most recent first):

Weston – Lost Roosters 0-2 (a), Lost Phoenix 1-2 (a), Won Blues 3-0 (h)

Broadmeadow – Lost Eagles 0-3 (a), Lost Olympic 1-2 (h), Won Jets 5-1 (a)

Bottom Line

With Broadmeadow having won just one of their last eight matches in the PS4 NPL NNSW, and Weston only registering the solitary win this season, both sides head into the match down on form.

After one of the Bears best performances of the season against Charlestown in round 10, they have lost their last two.

First, it was the last minute lost to Valentine which hurt Weston the week after and last weekend they fell 2-0 to Lake Macquarie in one of their most disappointing performances this year according to coach Steve Piggott.

The Bears have been in every match they have played, and while they sit in 10th on the ladder, their biggest losing margin has only been two goals. What has hurt the Bears has been tight results which have gone against them, including conceding in stoppage time against the Jets Youth and Valentine.

In 2017, Broadmeadow promised so much, however, have delivered so little so far. After a run to the Grand Final last year, Magic have won just three of their 11 matches this season and need three points desperately to give the side some much-needed confidence.

Magic will feel somewhat confident based on their recent record against the Bears who they haven’t lost to in their last four encounters and haven’t conceded in any of those matches.

Based on experience, Magic come into this encounter as the favourites, but Weston’s young side will relish this opportunity against some of the most decorated players in Broadmeadow’s history.

Weston will be close to full-strength with just Jamie Byrnes out of the side.

 

What the Coaches Said:

Steve Piggott (Weston)

“Considering we are suffering a bit of a form loss, it could be a bit of a tough assignment for us, even though they have been beaten a couple of times. But, you’d think they will bounce back, but who knows. We’ve got a few players out of form. Our form has just dipped, and it was probably our worst performance on the weekend. We just didn’t seem like the team we have been the weeks before.”

“We did really well against Charlestown and we did really well in patches against Valentine. We probably deserved to get a point there, maybe even pinch the game. We were pretty good in the second half until the dying minutes. Again, it’s probably the third or fourth game where somebody has scored in injury time to hurt us. You could see how disappointed we were [after the Valentine match], after being right in the game and I think that has taken a bit of confidence out of the team.”

Key: Can Broadmeadow’s deliver on their pre-season promise this weekend?

Related Topics:
NPL Premier Competitions

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