HUNTER SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
Match of the Round
Warners Bay Panthers v South Wallsend Wolves
Sunday 19th August, 2:30 pm
John Street Oval
Last meeting: Warners Bay won 2-1 in the first leg of the semi-final at Walker Fields last Sunday.
Ladder: Warners Bay 1st, 38 points; South Wallsend 4th, 14 points.
Past three starts (most recent first):
Warners Bay- won South Wallsend 2-1 (a), won Merewether 2-1 (h), won Wallsend 4-0 (h).
South Wallsend- lost Warners Bay 2-1 (h), drew Wallsend 3-3 (h), won Adamstown 2-1 (h).
Both sides will field last weekend’s starting line-up with Laynee Field possibly coming into South Wallsend’s squad after missing last weekend’s match due to illness.
Last weekend’s match saw Warners Bay leading 2-nil at the break and cruising along comfortably. The visitors had dominated the first half and barely gave the opposition a sniff of a counter-attack, leaving spectators wondering what the rest of the game would bring for a struggling South Wallsend outfit. In the second half, the Wolves played with urgency and hunger but had good chances on goal go begging.
South Wallsend continue to impress and last Sunday’s game was proof that they are capable of beating the best team in the competition. However, they have a big task on their hands with Warners Bay being undefeated at John Street Oval and hoping to keep it that way.
Warners Bay has claimed the victory on all four occasions this season, however, all it takes is a 2-nil win for the Wolves and a Panthers season that promised so much could be over before grand final day.
The Panthers are the favourites heading into the do-or-die match but it would be dangerous for them to discount a side who caused them to hit the panic button last weekend. There will be no excuses for either side and with both teams wanting to leave nothing left in the tank, the stage is set for another cracking showdown.
What the Coaches say
Brad Parkes (South Wallsend)
“The pressure is on them because they are in front and the way they have played all year, everyone is expecting them to win so it’s a positive for us because we are the underdogs which I like. In our minds, we have always thought we had a squad that was good enough to go all the way and I think we proved that last weekend when we pushed them to the very end. They will come out firing because they need to try and hold onto the lead but for us, I’d rather leave everything out on the park and play good football right until the final whistle. Last weekend we put in a strong performance and I’m confident if we do that again, we will get the result we want. Hopefully, we can get a few to actually go in which would be nice as well,” Parkes said.
Cassidy Davis (Warners Bay)
“If we want a complete performance, we need to make sure we are first to the ball. Once that happens, everything else will follow. I think we are a great team when we play forward and keep the ball so that will also be a focus. I thought we were very off from how we can perform in the second half last weekend and I know the girls will want to change that on Sunday. Our defence has been great so we need to improve our attack for this weekend but it also is about being smart depending on how the game plays out,” Davis said
Key: Warners Bay haven’t conceded more than one goal in their last five matches. Can South Wallsend find a way through their defence?
Merewether United v New Lambton Eagles
Saturday 18th August, 2:30 pm
Last meeting: Merewether won 1-0 in the first leg of the semi-final at Alder Park last Saturday.
Ladder: Merewether 2nd, 31 points; New Lambton 3rd, 27 points.
Past three starts (most recent first):
Merewether- won New Lambton 1-0 (a), lost Warners Bay 2-1 (a), won New Lambton 3-1 (a).
New Lambton- lost Merewether 1-0 (h), won Adamstown 6-3 (h), lost Merewether 3-1 (h).
Merewether will field last weekend’s starting line-up with Jamee Ellis set to make her return if she passes her physio assessment. New Lambton has a few niggling injuries in the squad but should be at full strength for Saturday.
For the defending champions, this weekend is all that stands between them and their fourth grand final appearance in six seasons.
Last weekend was incredibly tight at Alder Park, with an easy goal, from an error, being the only thing separating these two sides. New Lambton was the better side and probably deserved to walk away with a result but their lack of finishing is a key area that needs improving before Saturday.
New Lambton’s biggest strength is their speed and ability to send a ball firing into the back of the net which makes them a threat to any opposition.
Merewether may only play with three in the backline, but it works well for them and they know what it takes to win the big moments which is a big advantage.
United have only lost one game at Myamblah Oval and given how difficult a pitch it is to play on, they have a slight advantage heading into this match.
What the Coaches say
Cassandra Koppen (Merewether United)
“Our biggest focus will be keeping the ball and moving it quickly because we did a video session and looked at our individual stats which weren’t very impressive. We kept giving the ball away which isn’t good enough, especially for finals. We need to worry about our own game plan because if we stick to it, we will be fine. We scrambled really well defensively last weekend especially considering we only had three in the backline. I think we will be under a bit more pressure, especially if new Lambton are pushing for that goal so we may have to make some changes to our defensive line depending on how the game goes,” Koppen said.
Keelan Hamilton (New Lambton)
“Last weekend, we created so many opportunities and normally in a game of football when you do that, you get a result. There is only one goal between us so there is still plenty to play for and we are feeling really confident. If we put in the same performance this weekend, we will get a good result because both teams are pretty evenly matched. I don’t think Merewether have any tricks up their sleeve because we have played them four times and they have been the same each time. We know they have a lot of strengths which is why the finished second in the competition. They are a resilient side and are able to hang on in matches even when they aren’t playing their best. I don’t expect them to change too much but our biggest focus will be ourselves and our own game plan,” Hamilton said.
Key: Merewether is the only team New Lambton haven’t beaten this season. Can they change history on Saturday?