Herald Women’s Premier League Round 10 Preview

June 3rd, 2021

 Jack Antcliff

Match of the Round

Adamstown Rosebud JFC v Maitland FC
Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility, Saturday 7pm

Adamstown coach Ryan Campbell will call on his side to control the tempo and speed of the game when they host fifth-placed Maitland at Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility on Saturday.

“We know Maitland will be very organised and have a lot of pace on the counter,” Campbell said.

“We need to ensure we don’t give possession away in certain areas of the field as it allows them to counter into the space we leave.”

Rosebud sit fourth, though lead a congested grouping with Maitland and Charlestown just one point behind them on the table. Campbell believes his side need to focus on reducing turnovers if it is to climb clear of the middle of the table.

“We need to concede less goals at key moments of the game. Too often we concede when we are in the game which takes momentum away,” he said.

Scheduled for the synthetic surface at Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility, both coaches agreed that the consistent nature of the surface will allow for high-class football.

“We enjoy playing at Speers Point as it gives you a consistent play the entire time but I also think with the way [Maitland coach Keelan Hamilton] sets up to play it will suit his girls also. It should be a great game,” Campbell said.

The last time these two sides met in round three, a Chelsea Gay hat-trick inspired Maitland to a 6-2 win at Cooks Square Park.

On this occasion, the Magpies will be without both Emily Wicks and Bronte Peel, with Peel nursing a fractured bone in her foot.

“Our approach will be similar to most weeks. We will try to control the game with and without the ball,” Hamilton said.

“We know Adamstown will do the same so it should be a decent match.”

Hamilton refused to buy into any talk about the Buds’ physical approach on match day, remaining of the consensus his side will be there to play football.

“Adamstown are a competitive side in duels but that is football and we embrace it. The talk from other teams of their physical approach is misguided in my opinion,” Hamilton said.

As for what a good performance on Sunday will look like, Hamilton called for positivity.

“A performance where we play with positive intent and concentration will be a good one on Saturday,” he said.

Charlestown Azzurri v Broadmeadow Magic
Magic Park, Friday 8pm

Broadmeadow Magic will be eager to bounce back after forgoing top spot on the Herald Women’s Premier League table to Newcastle Olympic last Sunday.

Magic coach Jake Curley has given his side the week off following the narrow loss, with the physical encounter taking its toll on the side.

“Our training can be a bit intense and we have injuries,” Curley said.

Lucy Kell is expected to return for the weekend’s match, with Curley hopeful of a full compliment on deck the following weekend. Lucy Jerram is managing a back complaint while Kirstyn Antoni is under an injury cloud.

At the other end, a win for Charlestown could move the sixth-placed Azzurri as high as fourth. Ahead of them is Maitland (fifth) and Adamstown (fourth).

Charlestown coach Niko Papaspiropoulos noted he thought the pressure was all on Magic heading into the match, with the women in red chasing premiership glory.

“They are now chasing for the premiership so there is probably a bit of pressure on them to keep winning games and not drop any points,” he said.

Azzurri have been guilty of giving away soft goals and handing over the lead on multiple occasions this season, something they cannot afford to do on Friday.

“There’s been a few games where we have done well in the first half and we’ve given away leads,” Papaspiropoulos said.

“We have shown that we can stick it with them for parts of the games. It is just about making sure we stay focused.”

The last time these two sides met Charlestown held the lead over the women in red at half-time, only to be run down 4-1 by full-time.

“We will have to absorb a fair bit of pressure on Friday,” Papaspiropoulos said.

“We will need to be wary of their pace up front and make sure we don’t give the ball away cheaply which is one thing that hurt us in the previous week.”

Azzurri will again be without Tamara Nash who remains out injured, while the shorter turnaround has allowed Papaspiropoulos to modify his side’s approach at training.

“We make sure we don’t overload on the Thursday and have a more intense session earlier in the week. Thursday we focus on shape and more strategic things,” he said.

Newcastle Olympic v New Lambton FC
Darling Street Oval, Sunday 3.40pm

Maddy Searl has looked to instil confidence and mental toughness in her young New Lambton side while searching for continuity across the park.

The Eagles remain winless in 2021 having scored just two goals in nine outings and while on paper Sunday’s match would appear to be a difficult assignment, Olympic coach Harmonie Attwill is well aware of the threat posed by the competition’s lowest side.

The Eagles do still have former W-League players Adraina Jones and Jenna Kingsley leading the side’s attack. Between the pair they have more than 140 games of W-League experience.

Searl’s side will be without the services of Brooke Miller who was sent off in last week’s loss to Warners Bay.

Olympic head into the match firmly perched at the top of the Herald Women’s Premier League table after a narrow win over Broadmeadow Magic last weekend.

“Overall, the squad did exhibit some soreness after the challenging match on Sunday but all will be managed and we will be ready for Sunday,” Olympic coach Harmonie Attwill said.

Despite both copping heavy knocks in the match against Magic, Georgia Little and Laura Hall are expected to line up for the home side.

Elise Mamanu-Gray, who missed last week’s match through suspension, could also return. Former Rosebud Jorjia Hogg is a chance of selection having made the switch to Olympic last week.

“We will approach the game in the same way do every week. It is just another game and we will look to execute everything we work on this week,” Attwill said.

“There’s no focus on the position on the ladder, we still have half the season to play.”

Warners Bay FC v Mid Coast FC
John Street Oval, Sunday 3.40pm

While much of the focus in recent weeks has been the battle for top spot on the table, Warners Bay has continued to fly below the radar in hope of going one better this season.

Last year’s grand finalists have recorded five wins, a draw and two losses to leave them third on the table with 16 points after nine rounds. They still have a game in hand after their round three match against Middies was rained out. That fixture will now be played in late July.

“The vibe is very good around the squad at the moment. We had a decent session on Tuesday with a bit of fun stuff added in as well,” Panthers coach Craig Atkins said.

The Panthers were last start winners over New Lambton, though despite the 5-1 result the performance was far from perfect from the competition’s third-placed side.

“The girls are obviously happy with the win but definitely know it was far from the best that they can perform,” Atkins said.

“I believe and the squad knows that we still have plenty of improvement in us and we need to start producing consistent performances as each game is becoming more difficult each week.”

A result on Sunday, according to Atkins, will be derived from a lift in intensity and better execution.

“Middies will be well structured, so we need to ensure that we execute efficiently all across the park in all areas,” Atkins said.

“A good performance will involve all players lifting from their last performance and staying in the game for the entire 90 minutes.”

Speaking after the side’s loss to Maitland in round seven, Mid Coast coach Mick Grass noted his side needed to turn its attention to the “simple things.” But with a growing injury toll just fielding two senior teams has become the priority.

Having started the season with 34 players between two sides, Grass has been left with just 19 players available for selection. Jess Watts and Allira Knight both suffered season-ending injuries earlier in the year while Grass is awaiting word on Chelsea Hall’s knee injury.

“We have talked a lot about determination and coming together, working for each other. That is what it is going to take to compete this weekend,” Grass said.

“The girls are pretty close. The girls on the park are all upbeat.”

Seventh on the table, Middies have showed promise in parts, though cannot afford to make simple mistakes against Warners Bay on Sunday.

“I think it will just be whether we can stick to what we have been doing for long periods,” Grass said.

“I think we’re reasonably fit, so I think we can play our game but we just blink at the wrong moment early in the game.”

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