South Wallsend v Warners Bay
Sunday, June 5, 2.15pm
At Walker Fields
Last start: South Wallsend lost 3-1 to Adamstown; Warners Bay beat Thornton 4-1.
Last time they met: Warners Bay won 5-0.
Position on ladder: South Wallsend sixth (5); Warners Bay fourth (17).
The last time these sides met Warners Bay were convincing 5-0 winners but neither coach this weekend will be taking notice of the first-round result.
“I doubt that will happen again,” Warners Bay coach Leon Davis said.
“They’re going to be better and they are playing at home.”
Davis was expecting to have a full complement bar the possible exception of Taylah Smith through work commitments.
He felt his charges did not turn up mentally for the game last weekend and only managed to secure their 4-1 win over Thornton with three goals in the final 15 minutes.
Davis said the focus this week was “to play at 100 per cent”.
“To play with all energy and all commitment irrespective of who we’re playing,” Davis said.
“It’s about playing to our potential, not who we’re playing, that’s my concern.”
“We need to focus on ourselves; trying to make those connections up front and finishing our chances.”
South Wallsend player-coach Elyce Bates will tinker with her formation in an attempt to nullify Warners Bay’s potent attack.
“We need to tighten up the backline a little bit, especially against Warners Bay,” Bates said.
“But we’ve gained a few players since we played them last and now we’re starting to gel, hopefully we can get on a roll and start knocking off some of these top-four sides.”
Bates lamented their “inconsistency” this season.
“We’ll always be competitive and every team we come up against knows we’re a danger, we just let ourselves down a bit here and there,” she said.
“But we’ve got to finish this season strong, that is our main aim now.”
Bates said midfielder Tori Farley returned to training this week after a lengthy stint on the sideline through injury but remained unsure of her involvement this weekend.
Wallsend v Thornton
Sunday, June 5, 2.15pm
At The Gardens
Last start: Wallsend lost 3-2 to Warners Bay in round 11; Thornton lost 4-1 to Warners Bay last weekend.
Last time they met: Wallsend won 7-1.
Position on ladder: Wallsend third (18); Thornton fifth (9).
Wallsend coach Marc Hingston believes defence will be key to their championship campaign and has targeted “three clean sheets in the next three games”.
“The main thing for us now is making sure we are defensively a lot better,” Hingston said.
“Our attack is fantastic; we’ve scored 12 goals in our past three games but defensively we need to be a lot better.
“Our approach defensively across the park had to change. If we want to win the competition, our attack is always going to be good but we will have to win on the back of our defence as a unit.”
Thornton gave a good account of themselves when these sides last met, despite going down by six goals.
The six-goal loss proved a turnaround point for the Redbacks, who have shown plenty of improvement in recent weeks.
“Thornton are the most improved side in the competition and that is on the back of effort and desire,” Hingston acknowledged.
Thornton coach Alan Primmer said the focus this weekend was “not to let them get in behind us like they did last time”.
Thornton took it to Wallsend last time but the score blew out in the second half with Wallsend proving lethal in front of goal.
“That has been the catalyst of working on a few things and tightening up at the back; we need to keep that going now,” Primmer said.
Thornton have been bolstered by the return of last year’s captain Sophie Milton, who went to Sydney to play this year but was not getting much game time.
“Assistant coach Dave Redding said straight away last week she had an impact. She is someone with the ability to put her foot on the ball and slow things up a bit for us,” Primmer said.
Milton misses this game though through unavailability.
Mid North Coast v Adamstown
Sunday, June 5, 2.15pm
At Fairmont Gardens
Last start: Adamstown beat South Wallsend 3-1; Mid North Coast lost 1-0 to Merewether.
Last time they met: Adamstown won 4-2.
Position on ladder: Adamstown lead with 31 points; Mid North Coast (2).
Adamstown coach Ben Herron wants his side to be ruthless in front of goal after failing to make the most of their chances in the final third last weekend.
“Come the weekend when we create chances in front of goal we need to capitalise on them,” Herron said.
“We have improved our patience and respect for the ball, the next real focus point is we have to start to capitalise on our chances.”
Rosebud midfielder Ryley Field was carrying a knee complaint from training on Tuesday night and Herron was awaiting confirmation on a clearance for returning striker Lauren Allan to play.
The last time these two sides met Mid North Coast led before succumbing 4-2.
“I’m sure Ben will be reminding them of their performance in the first half against us last time,” Mid North Coast coach Matt Baker said.
“It’s going to be a tough game.”
Mid North Coast are still without holding midfielder Brooke Summers through injury and Baker said he may promote 18s player Taylah Maxwell to the bench for first grade after some strong performances of late.
Merewether – bye
Herald WPL points table: Adamstown 31, Merewether 20, Wallsend 18, Warners Bay 17, Thornton 9, South Wallsend 5, Mid North Coast 2.