PHOTO: Valentine Sports Photography
It’s going to be a huge afternoon for the Grand Final in the Herald Women’s Premier League!
Warners Bay FC V Wallsend FC
Rockwell Automation Park, Weston
This season: Played three times. They drew 1-1 in round four then Warners Bay won 3-2 in round 11 and 3-1 in round 18.
Road to the grand final – past five starts
Warners Bay (from most recent): defeated Merewether 2-0, drew 1-1 with Merewether, beat Mid North Coast 4-2, lost 4-2 to South Wallsend, downed Thornton 8-0.
Wallsend (from most recent): defeated Adamstown 4-1, beat Adamstown 3-2, downed Merewether 5-2, defeated Thornton 6-0, lost 3-1 to Warners Bay.
Warners Bay second (38 points), Wallsend fourth (30)
- Warners Bay are the only team Wallsend have not beaten this year;
- Both clubs are playing in their first WPL grand final;
- Warners Bay players Nadja Squires, Cassidy Davis and Toria Campbell were part of Valentine’s grand final side which lost to Merewether in the decider last year;
- Four Newcastle Jets players will play in the grand final. Cassidy Davis and Adriana Jones for Warners Bay, Jenna Kingsley and Libby Copus-Brown for Wallsend;
- Last year was the first WPL season for both clubs. Warners Bay collected the wooden spoon and Wallsend finished second from the bottom;
- Warners Bay had the equal best goalscoring record in the league during the season, scoring 61 goals in 18 outings.
Wallsend stormed into the Herald Women’s Premier League Grand Final with a 7-3 semi-final win over minor premiers Adamstown.
They had been unable to beat Rosebud in the season proper and the result over two legs came after downing defending champions and third-placed Merewether for the first time this year in the last round of the season proper.
Now just second-placed Warners Bay remains.
In three meetings this season they have drawn once and Warners Bay have won twice.
Warners Bay coach Leon Davis expected that to be added motivation for Wallsend.
“I think they’ve grown in confidence in recent weeks,” Davis said.
“There has been a lot said about them not beating a top-three side this season and now they have gone out and beat the team who finished first twice and the team which finished third.
“They’re probably thinking we’re the only scalp left – that’s what I would be thinking.
“It doesn’t matter what happens in the season, a grand final is won on the day.”
Both sides have lethal strike power. Warners Bay’s attack is led by Newcastle Jets striker and WPL leading goalscorer Adriana Jones, who scored twice last weekend to send her side through to the decider.
The Red Devils are also potent in the final third. They scored 12 goals in their past three outings against two of the form teams of the season.
“They are an attacking team, they have got speed across the park and their midfield has some good aspects and obviously they have strung some good wins together so they’ve got a bit of confidence,” Davis said.
“We have beaten everyone so we know we are capable, it’s just a matter of getting it right on the day.”
Warners Bay have injury concerns in defender Toria Campbell and striker Kally Lewis.
Campbell was forced from the field with an ankle injury in the second leg of their semi-final with Merewether and Lewis missed the match with a shoulder injury sustained in the first leg.
Wallsend coach Marc Hingston took training lighter this week and said there had been a good “aura” about the squad.
They have grand final experience in former Emerging Jets players Libby Cop-Brown, Alice Munro, Kalista Hunter and Alice Munro.
Hunter comes into the starting side this weekend at centre-back for Lisa Cochrane who is unavailable for the match.
“Not having Lisa is a bit of the blow and I’m disappointed for her but I’m excited for Kalista who has played well and deserves her spot,” Hingston said.
“They are very much an attacking side who can break hearts. We need to protect the ball well be compact and organised in defence,” Hingston concluded.