Match of the Round
Adamstown Rosebud (10th) vs. Hamilton Olympic (4th)
Thursday 25 April, 2:30 pm, Adamstown Oval
It’s another exciting ANZAC Day clash at Adamstown Oval and this year’s edition sees the Rosebuds host Hamilton in what should be a great day full of commemoration, respect and tribute, as well as a crucial football match.
Last week saw Adamstown narrowly go down at the hands of the team on the bottom of the ladder, Lakes, and it means they’ve now experienced the most losses in the league and are at extreme risk of slipping away from the rest of the competition.
History is not on their side when facing Olympic either – the last time they defeated Hamilton was back in August 2014, and in their past four games, Olympic has won all four with Adamstown only scoring one goal across them.
The visitors are coming off the back of some important wins after defeating Newcastle Jets Youth last week 2-0, and before that, smashing Lakes 5-1 to place them inside the top four.
Cody Lucas has been a star for Hamilton since the beginning of the year and has been a constant threat in creating goals for his team, as well as stopping them down the other end, and he’ll need to be focused in that area again to stop Adamstown’s Matt Sokoulsky who has been one of the form midfielders of the competition despite his team sitting at the wrong end of the table.
Hamilton will be without their goalkeeper Tyler Warren after he received a red card in last week’s win, while Rosebuds’ captain Ben Higgins still has a question mark over his appearance.
Adamstown coach Shane Cansdell-Sherriff admitted the side were ultimately upset with their performance last weekend, but that they were focused on making good of their mistakes.
“There’s a lot of disappointment and frustration after last weekend,” Cansdell-Sherriff said.
“That was a game that we needed to win and was a good opportunity to get another win on the board and move forward. But Lakes did really well.
“We just switched off and gave them two quick goals.
“The positives are that we’re in a lot of games for a long time. We’re just sort of shooting ourselves in the foot…we’re maybe lacking that bit of leadership and keeping the boys focused for 90 or 95 minutes – whatever it takes.
Cansdell-Sherriff also made special mention of what the ANZAC Day celebration and tributes may add to the match confessing his team will “certainly use it as a bit of motivation.”
“It’s great for the club to be able to host the day and support that [ANZAC Day] again,” he said.
“Last year was fantastic. It’s always a great day.
“It’s going to be one of those heightened games. There’ll be a lot more activity and a lot more emotion to the game. The boys are looking forward to it.”
Newcastle Jets Youth (7th) vs. Lambton Jaffas (1st)
Saturday 27 April, 2:30 pm, Arthur Edden Oval
After starting their season off on a high, two straight losses for the Jets Youth have seen them slunk down the table and gaining back their form is only going to be harder considering that they take on the league leaders Lambton, who are still yet to be beaten.
The Jaffas gritted out a victory over Weston last week despite playing with ten men for over 70 minutes and have looked dominant in every match they’ve played. They sit at the equal-top of the ladder due to a greater goal difference than Edgeworth but have played two less than games than the defending premiers.
Braedyn Crowley has looked impossible to stop in his matches so far this year, having scored six and also recorded numerous assists as well, but the Jets Youth also possess their attacking weapons as well in Maki Petratos and Mat Barkho.
The young Jets may have lost their last two matches against Weston and Hamilton, but have still looked promising and dangerous especially when playing in transition on counter-attacks.
In 2018, Lambton comfortably won both their matches against the Jets, 3-0 and 2-0, but in the two years before that, they only managed one win over the Jets Youth in their four matches.
A win for the Jets would go a long way in regaining momentum and potentially move them into the top four depending on other results.
As for the Jaffas though, if they can manage a victory on Saturday afternoon, it will put some much-needed breathing room between them and the rest of the competition.
This match could prove vital for each team and their seasons so expect both to be throwing everything they have at one another.
Lake Macquarie City Roosters (11th) vs. Maitland FC (6th)
Saturday 27 April, 2:30 pm, Macquarie Field
Lake Macquarie finally picked up their first win of the season last week but establishing a run of form is going to be tough as their next opponent is that of 2018 semi-finalists, Maitland.
The Magpies experienced a rather bumpy start to the year due to wash-outs and an early loss and draw, but since then, they have gained two solid victories which included a last-grasped comeback against the defending premiers Edgeworth on Good Friday.
In attack, Maitland has struggled to truly hit their straps and fire, but their defence has been extremely sound and sturdy especially that of Zach Thomas’ who was featured in the NPL NNSW Team of the Week for Round 7 for a second straight week.
He’ll have his work cut out for him when he squares off with the reigning Graham Jennings Medallist, Sam Walker, this weekend, who last week got on the score-sheet and played in the final pass for his team’s winning goal to also earn a spot in the Team of the Week for the first time this year.
Since being promoted back to the top flight, Lakes are yet to defeat Maitland in their four matches played and have only scored one goal which was a late Mitch Hunter equalising goal in Round 20 last season. The last time the Roosters beat the Magpies was back in 2010 when both sides played in the second division.
On average goals conceded, Lakes currently have the worst record averaging more than three goals per game, while Maitland has the second best, only averaging one conceded goal each game.
The Magpies will be fixed on collecting victory this weekend to hopefully propel them into the top four, especially due to having games in hand of those above them, however, for the Roosters, their pre-season finals hopes are quickly looking unrealistic, but a win this weekend may just give them the momentum they need to make a stunning comeback.
Broadmeadow Magic (3rd) vs. Weston Bears (5th)
Saturday 27 April, 5:00 pm, Magic Park
Having returned to the top four for the first time this season following a colossal 9-1 triumph, Broadmeadow host a Weston side that’s been surprising many in the early part of the year and sit on the same points as them.
Last week the Bears frustratingly couldn’t work their way past Lambton, but that loss was just their second since their other 2-1 defeat to Hamilton in Round 1.
Their attack has been rather sound so far this season and it’s lead to an average of two goals a game, but they’ve struggled to put teams to their sword when momentum is going their way and it shows in their results as they are still yet to win a match by more than a single goal. Contrastingly though, they are still yet to lose by more than a goal as well, proving that they’re always a tough contest for opponents and most likely will be once again this weekend.
Magic are riding a high at the moment after their huge win over Valentine, and prior to that, have still yet to lose since their Round 1 loss against Edgeworth.
Their forward strike-force finally showed what they’re capable of last weekend, taking their overall goal tally to 15 – the third best in the league.
Both teams traded victories last season, but Weston hasn’t experienced a win at Magic Park since 2015 when they pulled off a dramatic 4-3 win thanks to a stoppage-time goal from Jake Millsteed.
Weston assistant coach Craig Stoker said that although the team experienced a tough defeat last week, belief amongst the squad is still high.
“The boys are full of confidence,” Stoker confessed.
“The played well against Jaffas, but they defended extremely well and Jimmy [James Pascoe] has them well-structured. We created plenty of chances on goal, we just didn’t convert.
“We do have a gameplan for Magic, but we are more centred on ourselves and looking to continue building on our game.
“We are improving with each game and the boys now have the confidence and belief in their game and they don’t fear any side in the competition.”
Valentine Phoenix (9th) vs. Charlestown City Blues (8th)
Sunday 28 April, 2:30 pm, CB Complex
After suffering their worst defeat in club history, Valentine host fresh-off-the-bye team Charlestown City in a Sunday afternoon clash where gaining three points is paramount for both sides.
For the visitors, prior to their bye, they experienced a short run of disappointing form having lost their past two matches by two-goal margins against Maitland and Adamstown.
Although their defence hasn’t been all too shaky to begin the year, their attack has been misfiring as, with the exception of their 4-1 victory over Lakes, they’ve only scored four goals from their other four games – the same record that the Phoenix currently have.
The Blues won both games comfortably last season though enjoying 2-0 and 4-0 scorelines which included a Kane Goodchild hat-trick, but he’s been yet to score so far this year and coach David Tanchevski will be extremely hopeful that changes this weekend.
In the past two matches Valentine has played, they regretfully hold a 13-1 aggregate score against them, signalling that defence is an issue and something that will need to be resolved sooner rather than later.
With their early start to the season looking a little ominous, Valentine coach Sam Griffin admitted the side are fixed and ready to turn it around.
“The feeling through the team is that they will do what it takes to get out of the hole we’ve dug ourselves into,” Griffin said.
“We’re going to up our intensity and are fully committed to turning ourselves around.
“No doubt we were rocked by the result last week, but everyone is positive we are better than we showed.
“We won’t be sitting on our hands, there has to be changes. We have been battered both on and off the ball in recent, and that won’t happen anymore.”