Match of the Round
Charlestown Azzurri v Adamstown Rosebud JFC
Lisle Carr Oval, Sunday 3.40pm
Match of the Round action returns to Lisle Carr Oval when Charlestown Azzurri host Adamstown Rosebud on Sunday.
The two sides sit just one point apart on the table, with the Buds hoping to extend their narrow ascendancy. A win for either team could prove crucial to their hopes of a top four finish.
“These games are very important. We have spoken about how performances are irrelevant if results don’t come and these are the games you need to get results in,” Rosebud coach Ryan Campbell said.
Adamstown were luckless losers against Maitland last weekend, with an injury time goal to Madison Gallegos handing the Magpies a 2-1 win. Campbell will be hoping for better fortunes on Sunday.
“This weekend we are looking to just make sure we don’t concede unnecessary goals. We feel that both goals we conceded last week were avoidable and this will help with results,” he said.
“We are keen to be more careful in possession, especially when playing from the back.”
Rosebud are expected to be unchanged for the important clash, with the match live on BarTV.
New Lambton FC v Broadmeadow Magic
Arthur Edden Oval, Friday 8pm
New Lambton welcome back a number of key players for their match against Broadmeadow on Friday night but it remains to be seen whether it will be enough to topple the second-placed Magic.
It has been a tough start to first grade coaching for Eagles’ mentor Maddy Searl, with her side languishing at the bottom of the Herald Women’s Premier League table. They are yet to record a win from the opening 10 rounds.
“We get three players back this weekend and have made some signings recently, so the girls are all excited and keen to get the ball rolling,” Searl said.
The return of Brooke Miller, Nina Collins and Izzy Winter is a further boost for the Eagles, who just a few weeks ago pulled off a coup by signing former W-League player Jenna Kingsley. She joins another former W-League star in Adriana Jones at the front of the Eagles attack.
And while the challenge ahead of them is a daunting one, Searl said her side was well aware of what was needed to score an upset.
“The girls know what to expect up against Magic. We need to concede less goals at key moments of the game. We concede when we are in the game and just put our heads down,” she said.
Magic coach Jake Curley has thrown his focus to continual improvement.
“The girls are a fantastic group to work with who collectively have a good work ethic which makes coaching them easy, particularly when Nadja [Squires] fires up,” he said.
“Our approach is to continue doing what we are doing and identifying areas of the game that we can use to our advantage.
“A good performance will be creating chances and limiting opposition chances.”
Erin Wilson remains in the casualty ward for the women in red, with Curley expecting the defender to return in coming weeks.
“I think every game is important because of how tight it is at the top. If we play to our strengths, we will get positive results,” he said.
Maitland FC v Warners Bay FC
Cooks Square Park, Saturday 3.40pm
It will be a battle of finals hopefuls on Saturday when third-placed Warners Bay travel west to tackle fourth-placed Maitland at Cooks Square Park.
The Panthers have six wins from nine games to start the season with a game in hand against Mid Coast FC, with the rescheduled fixture set down for late July.
Warners Bay are expected to welcome back Tara Pender after she rolled her ankle a fortnight ago, however Zoe Horgan will miss the match after she suffered a potentially serious ankle injury.
Niggling injuries will be the only thing that stops Maitland coach Keelan Hamilton from putting his strongest team on the park come Saturday.
The Magpies have been cursed with a run of injuries across the opening half of the season including to star players Kaitlin Radstaak, Sophie Stapleford and in more recent weeks Bronte Peel.
Hamilton told the Newcastle Herald during the week that Peel’s injury had potentially been around for six to eight months.
“She had been saying [her ankle] was a bit sore and had an MRI and there is a little fracture there but it’s already healing. They’re also checking it’s not an infection,” Hamilton told the Herald.
A win on Saturday would see the Magpies move within striking distance of the third-placed Panthers, with five points separating the two sides.
“Our approach doesn’t change. We will stick to our process and try and take the game on by attempting to control the game with and without the ball,” Hamilton said.
“A good performance will be one where we play with positive intent and concentration.”
Hamilton said the match would be won or lost in the middle of the park, while the former championship-winning mentor is not getting caught up in finals talk.
“I think a key area will be in the midfield battle where Warners Bay are very strong,” he said.
“The match is important but no more important than other weeks. There is still a lot of rounds to play so we just need to work week to week and keep looking to improve.”
Mid Coast FC v Newcastle Olympic
Taree Zone Field, Sunday 3.40pm
Controlling possession is the simple message from Newcastle Olympic coach Harmonie Attwill as she prepares her top of the table side for another important fixture in the Herald Women’s Premier League.
Olympic are two-points clear of Broadmeadow Magic at the summit, though a slip up for either team could hand the other a clear run at premiership glory.
The first hurdle for Olympic is Mid Coast FC.
“They are a quality side and have shown this year they can match it with some of the top teams so there is no doubt we must ensure we respect the ball and work hard to keep it once we win possession,” Attwill said.
“An area we believe needs to be improved across the park is our ability to defend, particularly one versus one and affecting our direct opponent.”
In a boost for Attwill, former Newcastle Jets’ W-League centre back Stacey Day could return for the women in blue. Day will likely feature off the bench as she continues to recover from a knee injury.
The return of Day, along with the performance of former Rosebud Jorjia Hogg last weekend is welcome news for Attwill, who just a few weeks ago lost inspirational captain Sophie O’Brien to a season-ending injury.
Mid Coast coach Mick Grass hopes his side can turn adversity into success when they tackle the competition heavyweights.
“Our approach this week is just about counting numbers again. We had seven fit players available to train on Wednesday, so we haven’t been able to focus on anything specific,” he said.
Illness has been the latest hurdle for Middies, who have struggled for consistency this season.
“We still have a number of injuries and now a spate of illness has hit the squad. I’m hoping we can start with the same 11 as last week but it’s still a bit uncertain at this point,” he said.
“A good performance on Sunday would look much like last weekend. Nothing less than 100 per cent effort and more clinical execution of the basics.
“The next few rounds are crucially important for our season, if only to be able to tough it out until players start trickling back in.”