By Renee Valentine
This round continues the ‘A Goal for Sophie’ fundraising efforts for Sophie Stapleford this weekend and Thornton, Warners Bay, Wallsend and South Wallsend have already said they will each donate $10 per goal scored by their clubs to the cause.
Donations can be made via the ‘A Goal for Sophie’ page: https://www.mycause.com.au/page/97092/agoalforsophie.
Match of the Round
Merewether United FC v Adamstown Rosebud JFC
Sunday 2pm at Myamblah Oval
Last time they met: Merewether won 1-0
Last start: Merewether drew 1-1 with Thornton in Round 10 (May 16); Adamstown beat Valentine 3-1 on May 20
Position on ladder: Adamstown first (25 points); Merewether second (25 points)
This has been a much-anticipated match-up since Merewether beat Adamstown in a tight battle in round five.
The two sides are locked at the top of the league ladder – Adamstown hold top spot with a superior goal difference but United have a game in hand against last-placed Mid North Coast – and both coaches agreed this game could go a long way to determining the minor premiership.
Adamstown coach John Jiggins expected the game to be a “battle of attrition” but remained “quietly confident”.
United coach Cass Koppen described the match as “massive” and said they will “play accordingly”.
Both sides have conceded just seven goals this season but Rosebud have scored 38 goals in 10 outings, well clear of Merewether’s 25, and Koppen identified Rosebud’s attacking speed as a threat.
“We watched them play Valentine [last week] and they probably could have scored more goals, they are a very attacking side,” Koppen said.
“They rely a lot on pace up front and wide and tend to play a few more through balls, so we’ll be trying to nullify that.”
Koppen said her side needed to be stronger in the final third and would possibly tinker with their formation to try “to encourage a bit more flow”.
Merewether will be without injured striker Kylie Rush but otherwise both squads should be at full strength.
Warners Bay FC v Valentine FC
Sunday 2pm at John Street Oval
Last time they met: Valentine won 6-2
Last start: Warners Bay drew 2-2 with Adamstown in Round 10 (May 17); Valentine beat Wallsend 6-2 last night (May 28)
Position on ladder: Warners Bay seventh (8 points); Valentine third (16 points)
Warners Bay coach Jason Daniluck expected the next few games “could make or break our season” and believed his team could challenge Valentine if they played to their potential.
The last time the two sides met, Valentine went on a goal-scoring spree but Daniluck predicted a much stronger performance from his charges this time around and said they had taken a lot of confidence from their 2-2 draw with competition heavyweights Adamstown last round.
“Slowly, I think we’re starting to find some form and if we turn up on the day I think we’ll be in it,” Daniluck said.
Valentine cemented third place on the competition ladder with a convincing 6-2 win over Wallsend last night. They moved six points clear of South Wallsend, who are stuck in a four-way tussle for fourth place with Wallsend, Thornton and Warners Bay.
Warners Bay back up to play South Wallsend next Wednesday night before taking on last-placed Mid North Coast and Daniluck said the games were a chance to get a “mini roll on” to strengthen their semi-finals claims.
Tyler Radovanovic and Hannah Brewer both scored braces as Valentine overpowered Wallsend last night. Valentine led 2-1 at half-time after a close first half but outclassed their counterparts in the second half.
Valentine were last night without Gemma Pearce (back injury) and she remains in doubt for the weekend. Toria Campbell missed the match due to unavailability but rejoins the squad for the Warners Bay match.
Thornton Redbacks FC v Wallsend FC
Sunday 2pm at Thornton Park
Last time they met: 3-3 draw
Last start: Thornton drew 1-1 with Merewether in Round 10 (May 16); Wallsend lost 6-2 to Valentine last night (May 28)
Position on ladder: Thornton sixth (9 points); Wallsend fifth (9 points)
These two teams are locked in a four-way tussle for fourth place with South Wallsend and Warners Bay and the winner of this game will move three points clear of the beaten side.
Both sides should be at full strength and Thornton coach Alan Primmer rated them as “very similar” sides and expected concentration to be a determining factor in the end result.
“They’re really still finding their feet like us and still learning but from what I’ve read they’ve been very competitive in most of their games,” Primmer said.
“We need to keep our own concentration levels up and stay focused for 90 minutes.”
Primmer said the Redbacks gained a lot of confidence from a 1-1 draw with Merewether in their last outing and was disappointed last round’s postponements due to rain may have disrupted their momentum.
But by the same token he appreciated a timely break to give players carrying niggles a chance to rest after what had been a tough schedule.
Wallsend have managed to take just one point from their past four outings and coach Rob Botham was disappointed with his side’s four-goal loss to Valentine last night, saying “inexperience let us down”, but said they would move on quickly and turn their focus to a strong performance against Thornton.
South Wallsend JSC v Football Mid North Coast
Sunday 2pm at Walker Field
Last time they met: South Wallsend won 3-0
Last start: South Wallsend beat Wallsend 2-1 on May 20; Mid North Coast drew 1-1 with Wallsend in Round 10 (May 17)
Position on ladder: South Wallsend fourth (10 points); Mid North Coast eighth (5 points)
South Wallsend coach Marc Hingston has targeted maximum points in the next fortnight in an attempt to consolidate fourth place on the league ladder.
South Wallsend back up against Warners Bay next Wednesday night, meet Adamstown in Round 13, play Thornton Wednesday week then round out a tough fortnight by playing Warners Bay in Round 14.
Hingston will lose several players in July to varying commitments and said “our focus is on racking up as many points as we can” in June and rated the “next couple of games as very important”.
Amy Waterhouse (ankle) and Taylor O’Neill (quadriceps) were the only players in doubt due to injury but Hingston remained hopeful they would be included on Sunday.
Both sides are young and, like a few other teams in the competition, capable of matching it with any team on their day if they keep composure and focus.
“One thing I have noticed about them is they play with a lot of energy and enthusiasm … and I think whoever wins the battle of enthusiasm might come out on top,” Hingston said.
Mid North Coast have had a disrupted week with several players missing from training through school representative commitments but coach Matt Baker expected to have close to a full squad this weekend.