Competitions

PS4 NPL NNSW Round 15 Preview

June 22nd, 2017
PHOTO: SPROULE SPORTS FOCUS

BEN HOMER 

Match of the Round
Hamilton Olympic v Maitland Magpies
2.30pm Sunday 25th June at Darling Street Oval

Last Meeting: Round 4, 2017: Maitland 0 Hamilton 2 at Cooks Square Park
Ladder: Hamilton 4th (21pts), Maitland 5th (20)
Last 3 Starts (most recent first):

Hamilton – Won Rosebud 3-0 (h), Lost Jaffas 2-3 (a), Won Magic 2-1 (a)

Maitland – Won Jets 6-1 (h), Drew Blues 1-1 (h), Lost Rosebuds 1-3 (a)

Bottom Line

Top four ambitions will go on the line in this weekend’s ‘Match of the Round’ when Maitland meet Hamilton at Darling Street Oval.

Just a point separates the sides with both having played 12 matches, and three points on Sunday could make all the difference in the race for the top four.

Hamilton come into the fixture fresh from the bye, and having missed the Westfield FFA Cup weekend, Olympic will not have played a competitive match in three weeks.

It has given Mick Bolch’s side the chance to freshen up and get over any niggles or injuries as they gear up for a huge eight matches to end the regular season.

After a run of three straight matches in the PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NNSW without a victory, Maitland has grown in confidence following a competitive performance against Edgeworth in the Westfield FFA Cup where they pushed the Eagles all the way in a 1-0 defeat.

The Magpies have taken that good form back into the league season where they dismantled the Jets Youth on Sunday in style, winning 6-1.

Josh Dutton-Black scored his first PS4 NPL goal for the club and seems a key for Maitland over the final two months of the competition, along with new recruit Chris Fayers who has arrived mid-season from Edgeworth.

While Maitland have only tasted victory once in their last five matches against Olympic, they have proved to be somewhat of a bogey side for the men from Hamilton. They drew twice with them last season and had a win each in 2015. Earlier this season Hamilton were too strong in a 2-0 win at Cooks Square Park.

It’s a match which shapes as a tight one and only home ground advantage tilts the scales in favour of Olympic.

What the Coaches Said:

Michael Bolch (Hamilton)

“They have trained really well in the last couple of weeks so hopefully they will be focused. It will be a big game, so I’m sure they will be up for it. It’s crucial for every team [the next eight weeks]. There are about four or five teams that are chasing those [top] four spots, so it’s a big eight weeks coming up for all teams.”

“[Maitland] have had a couple of good results the last few weeks. They put the Jets to the sword on the weekend and scored some really good goals. If we take the chances we are creating I’m sure we’ll be right in the game. Rhys Cooper is a bonus being back for us. He did really well in his 60 minutes against Adamstown three weeks ago and his combination with Kane Goodchild and Scott Smith is only going to get better over the next eight weeks.”

Phil Dando (Maitland)

“We thought maybe we had done enough to get something out of it [against Olympic in round four]. We started off sloppy and they tend to play a bit more direct and we didn’t deal with it. They imposed themselves early on and got on top of us. We failed to match them in the intensity I suppose, so we need to ensure we do that.”

“We’ve just got to play at our best. We have some really good games in us but there are occasions when we switch off and I don’t know if the belief has been there. I keep telling them that they are as good as anyone going around and on our day, we are as good as anyone going around. I don’t know if they always believe me. They’ve just got to take that belief into games and they should do now after the good win the other day. We knocked the ball around well on a muddy pitch [against the Jets].”

Key: How will Hamilton start after three weeks without a match in the PS4 NPL?

 

Charlestown City Blues v Newcastle Jets Youth
2.30pm Saturday 24th June at Lisle Carr Oval

Last Meeting: Round 4, 2017: Jets Youth 1 Charlestown 4 at Lisle Carr Oval.
Ladder: Charlestown 8th (12), Jets Youth 9th (9)
Past 3 Starts (most recent first):

Charlestown – Drew Magpies 1-1 (a), Lost Phoenix 1-3 (a), Lost Bears 0-3 (a)

Jets – Lost Magpies 1-6 (a), Won Rosebud 3-2 (a), Won Jaffas 2-1 (a)

Bottom Line

Two sides in need of three points meet at Lisle Carr Oval on Sunday, with the Blues looking to win for the first time since April and the Jets Youth eager to erase last weekend’s defeat from their minds.

After two straight victories in the PS4 NPL NNSW, it seemed the Jets Youth would climb up the table over the back half of the season. However, on Sunday those hopes seemed to take a dive as Maitland provided the young Jets with a reality check.

The Magpies put six past them on a sodden pitch which didn’t suit the Jets’ style and with heavy pitches expected to be a feature of the final eight rounds, it may get tough for the Jets Youth.

Coach Clayton Zane has conceded the loss of striker Kristian Brymora is a significant one for his side, with Brymora bringing a physical presence, which is crucial against sides of which most bring greater size than the Jets.

While their opponents Charlestown have brought in some youth over the previous weeks, the experienced core of their squad remains the same with Matt Tull and Dan Casciaroli the important cogs in the midfield along with the attacking prowess of Rene Ferguson in the front third.

Charlestown haven’t won in six matches, but their last result was a positive step forward after consecutive defeats.

They drew with Maitland at Cooks Square Park at the start of the month and after missing the match with Lake Macquarie on Sunday, the Blues may come into this one a little rusty, while also eager and excited to be back on the park.

The greater physical presence of Charlestown makes them slight favourites on Saturday, although it is very rare that the Jets put in two disappointing performances in a row.

What the Coaches Said:

Shane Pryce (Charlestown)

“It’s an up and down season for them. It’s tough, they didn’t have their number one keeper in there [on the weekend]. It’s a reflection of them being in the comp for a while now. They either go really well one week, and they are bad another. I guess with young players it is consistency that they struggle with. I don’t think [the match] will be near what it was the first match against them. We played really well and they might have some changes in personnel as well.”

“Not much has changed in my mind, the feeling that I’m not going to be at the club next year. I’ve had a chat to the players and it’s really important for them that they put their best foot forward for the best of the season. I don’t want to finish the season where we roll over and die. I don’t think that’s in the character of some of the players and it’s definitely not in my character.”

Key: Can the Jets Youth respond to last weekend’s thumping handed out by Maitland?

 

Valentine Phoenix v Lambton Jaffas
2.30pm Saturday 24th June at Cahill Oval

Last Meeting: Round 4, 2017: Lambton 2 Valentine 3 at Arthur Edden Oval
Ladder: Valentine 3rd (25), Lambton 1st (29)
Past 3 Starts (most recent first):

Valentine – Lost Magic 1-3 (h), Won Roosters 1-0 (h), Won Blues 3-1 (h)

Lambton – Won Bears 5-0 (h), Won Eagles 2-0 (a), Won Olympic 3-2 (h)

Bottom Line

After their loss to the Jets Youth in round ten Lambton have returned to form in style, scoring ten goals in three matches since the defeat and going two points clear at the top of the PS4 NPL NNSW ladder.

The Jaffas thumped the Bears on Saturday, and what was even more impressive was their ability not to rely on one source for their goals with four different Jaffas’ players scoring on the weekend.

The visitors will be eager to beat their bogey side of late who have won their last two matches against them. Valentine won 3-2 last year in round 13 and won 3-2 earlier this season against the Jaffas.

For Valentine, Saturday’s match marks the end of five consecutive matches at Cahill Oval in the PS4 NPL NNSW. The Phoenix had an unblemished record on the ground this year, before their defeat to Broadmeadow Magic on Saturday.

While Valentine had won three straight matches before the game against Magic and looked set to secure a spot in the finals, a loss in the Westfield FFA Cup, followed by the loss on the weekend just seems to have shaken the Phoenix.

They were sitting eight points clear of fifth-placed Maitland before last weekend, but after both the Magpies and Magic won that gap has been reduced to five. A win this weekend is crucial for the Phoenix to ensure they keep the chasing teams at bay.

After their recent form, Lambton head into this match as favourites, but it will be tight, with Valentine aware of the importance of at least getting a point out of the match.

What the Coaches Said:

Sam Griffin (Valentine Assistant)

“We got it wrong tactically against Magic. We thought we should try and negate their pace by sitting off and picking out wide and deciding where to engage them. It probably worked to an extent, but not as well as we would have hoped and they got in behind more easily. You can’t concede three goals and let them get behind as easily as they did and expect them to win too many games.”

“There’s probably 11 battles going on out there [against Lambton]. I spoke to Sillsy [Darren Sills] today about trying to pick where their weakness is and it was a bit of a short conversation because there aren’t many. I think we can’t really worry about them too much, we’ve just got to make sure that we are better than what we were last week.”

Key: After two losses in a row, can the Phoenix turn it around against a Lambton side who has struggled against them recently?

 

Lake Macquarie Roosters v Broadmeadow Magic
2.30pm Sunday 25th June at Macquarie Field

Last Meeting: Round 4, 2017: Broadmeadow 1 Lake Macquarie 4 at Magic Park.
Ladder: Lakes 7th (16), Broadmeadow 6th (18)
Past 3 Starts (most recent first):

Broadmeadow – Won Phoenix 3-1 (a), Won Bears 4-1 (a), Lost Eagles 0-3 (a)

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

Bottom Line

Broadmeadow will look to make it a hat-trick of wins in the PS4 NPL NNSW for the first time in 2017 when they meet Lake Macquarie on Sunday afternoon.

Magic have piled on the goals in their last two matches in the league scoring four in their victory over Weston in round 13 and three on the weekend against Valentine.

Broadmeadow’s two PS4 NPL NNSW victories have bookended two strong performances in the Westfield FFA Cup when they racked up four and three goals respectively in their round six and seven fixtures.

They seem to be playing with greater width, allowing James Virgili and Kale Bradbury more space on the flanks and it certainly showed against the Phoenix, with Virgili scoring twice.

Lake Macquarie come into the match fresh from a three-week break, with byes and wet weather affecting their schedule.

Lakes have gone loss, win, loss over their last three matches so if you believe in that trend a win is due this weekend.

They were dogged in their last start against Valentine, but just couldn’t get the job done with Matt Toohey sent off in the second half and Jalon Brown scoring a late goal for the Phoenix.

The Roosters will bring plenty of belief into the clash after their wonderful showing in round four where they took down Broadmeadow 4-1 at Magic Park. They will be looking for more of the same this weekend.

With Broadmeadow having won four straight in all competitions they enter this match as favourites against a Lakes side who have been a little inconsistent of late.

What the Coaches Said:

Ruben Zadkovich (Broadmeadow)

“We are going alright, just putting a few wins together is nice. We know it will be a tough game, especially out there. Like most teams, they will rise to play against us. We are really looking forward to it. The boys have got a good bit of vibe going at the moment and teams spirit which is good, but we’ll just take it as it comes. Really looking forward to the weekend.”

“There were four or five games in that first round where we played some really good stuff and didn’t get rewarded. We didn’t take our chances and coughed up penalties at crucial times and conceded poor goals. It was kind of like Murphy’s Law, that along with some key injuries and a couple of suspensions and silly red cards. We were a bit unlucky there when we did play some good stuff and didn’t get any rewards from it, so I was always quite confident that it would turn around.”

Anthony Richards (Lakes)

“I’m tipping it’s going to be a massively tough game for us on the weekend. The Magic boys are flying at the moment. They are playing well and scoring goals and progressing through to the FFA Cup, so they are really confident and they picked up a really good player in Mitch Oxborrow.”

“I don’t think getting going is going to be the problem [after three weeks without a match]. The boys are buzzing. They are busting to get a game and you could see that on the weekend in the warm-up when everyone had gone, we were still training and having a kick at the ground there and then even started some diving headers in the mud. The boys were keen, they were right to play and they were really disappointed they didn’t get on, on the weekend.”

Key: Can Broadmeadow’s front third continue their strong form against Lakes?

 

Weston Bears v Adamstown Rosebud
2.30pm Sunday 25th June at Rockwell Automation Park

Last Meeting: Round 4, 2017: Adamstown 3 Weston 3 at Adamstown Oval.
Ladder: Weston 10th (7), Adamstown 11th (7)
Last 3 Starts (most recent first):

Adamstown – Lost Olympic 0-3 (a), Lost Jets 2-3 (h), Won Magpies 3-1 (h)

Weston – Lost Jaffas 0-5 (a), Lost Magic 1-4 (h), Lost Roosters 0-2 (a)

Bottom Line

For the second season running Weston and Adamstown are in a battle to avoid the wooden spoon, and while there are still plenty of matches left in the season a win this weekend for either club could go a long way to ensuring they finish the season strongly.

The Bears will be looking to for a strong performance at home after a difficult week which included a 5-0 defeat at the hands of the ladder leading Lambton Jaffas.

Weston have been unable to get themselves going again after a heart-breaking last minute defeat at Valentine in round 11.

The weekend before Weston put in one of their best performances of the season in a 3-0 win over Charlestown but have since lost four straight.

Since the round 10 victory, the Bears have conceded 13 goals in four matches – including nine in the past two – and a return home could be just the boost they need.

Like the Bears, Adamstown put in one of their best performances of the season against Maitland in round 11 and have struggled since.

Last weekend the Rosebuds went down 3-0 to Edgeworth who are going through a solid run of form.

The loss to the Eagles was Adamstown’s third straight and they have leaked three goals in each of those three defeats. Coach Nick Webb will aim to tighten up their defence this weekend.

Earlier in the season, the sides couldn’t be separated after a 3-3 draw, however, it was a match Adamstown would have felt like they had lost after racing to a 3-1 lead inside 16 minutes.

There is very little between the two sides, with Weston going into the match slight favourites at Rockwell Automation Park.

What the Coaches Said:

Steve Piggott (Weston)

“We had a 3-all draw with them last time and gave them a big head start and mowed them down. It will be a battle of the bottom two and a bit of pride at stake I suppose. After last week’s pretty poor effort defensively we’ll have to be a lot better. They’ve got some threats, a couple of guys that can score goals, Alex Read and the like. They haven’t been going well either so it will be a battle of two teams probably both looking to boost confidence.”

“There’s a few games in the first round that we let slip and Adamstown is probably one of them. We gave them a big head start and probably should have gone on and won that match. Ten games later from that game you would think both teams would have matured a bit. But, again I can only talk for us, we’ve conceded nine goals in two weeks and that is way too many and we’ve had to look pretty closely at the defence this week and hopefully, we can improve.”

Nick Webb (Adamstown)

“I think that is the biggest challenge. Part of the thing that I will be talking to them about this week, is that I am the coach. I am not a caretaker, I’m not just making sure they are all feeling good and I’m here to coach. That’s the biggest point I want to make to the club. I’m the coach and I want to prove that I want to be here next year as well.”

“The next couple of weeks are going to determine that, so I’m looking for them to push hard on their confidence side of it and the senior players step up and show the younger boys how it is done and that starts with body language and attitude. I’m looking to prove a point to them and show that I do want to coach this side next year as well.”

Key: Can Adamstown tighten up at the back, after conceding three goals in each of their last three matches?

Related Topics:
NPL Premier Competitions

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