Herald Women’s Premier League Round 14 Preview

July 8th, 2021

 Jack Antcliff

Match of the Round

Newcastle Olympic v Adamstown Rosebud JFC
Darling Street Oval, Sunday 3.40pm

Adamstown Rosebud will be out to upset Newcastle Olympic when the Buds make the trip to Darling Street Oval on Sunday afternoon.

A win this weekend could move the Buds inside the top four pending other results with Adamstown fifth, only bumped out of a finals place on goal difference.

Newcastle Olympic will need to perform minus the services of Jade McAtamney who remains under stay-at-home orders on the Central Coast.

She joins Keea Parrish who is yet to return from injury, though according to coach Harmonie Attwill Olympic still have the troops to get the job done on Sunday.

“We have been very clinical defensively in recent weeks and I think if we can continue to do that, we can be successful,” she said.

“We know Adamstown can score goals. Anyone in the competition can score goals so I think that is always going to be a focus.”

Adamstown have developed a fiery reputation in 2021 with the need for composure both on and off the field key to a result against the young Rosebud.

“I think we are mentally tough.The players are quite mature and as they are patient in their execution,” Attwill said.

“Hopefully, our mental toughness can see us secure a result. We will come out firing and do everything we were expected to do before the break.”

Last weekend’s State Cup provided a welcome rest for Olympic’s top grade side, with only four first grade players taking part in the three-day tournament.

The women from Darling Street were eventually beaten in the final by Maitland.

“It was good to see some of the young players demonstrate their ability,” Attwill said.

New Lambton FC v Charlestown Azzurri
Alder Park, Sunday 3.40pm

It has been a tough year for New Lambton so far, with the Eagles still winless after 14 rounds despite on paper having one of the more experienced attacking combinations in the league.

Coach Maddy Searl has former W-League players Jenna Kingsley and Adriana Jones at her disposal, though frustratingly for Searl the pair are yet to lead the side to a win.

“The girls have had a good week of training and are looking for results in the coming games,” she said.

According to Searl, her side will need to dominate the middle of the park if they are to match the former Merewether, now turned Azzurri line-up.

“A good performance will see us dominating that middle battle and taking the game out of their hands,” she said.

“We need to be clinical in front of goals and take our chances.”

At the other end, Charlestown coach Niko Papaspiropolous will hope for more of the same on Sunday. Azzurri have struck form in recent weeks, while the State Cup delivered a welcome rest for a wounded first grade side.

“[The State Cup] is very different to a regular round. For us we took a lot of young players into the State Cup to show what they have got,” he said.

Charlestown are sixth on the table four points outside the top four, while New Lambton continue to struggle at the bottom end of the competition.

“I have made it very clear from the start that there are no easy games. Even the games we have won, we have not won by large score lines,” Papaspiropolous said.

“Every game is tough. I don’t really talk about position too much when talking about the team that we are going to play.”

Papaspiropolous has in recent weeks praised his side’s resilience and determination, with the first-year top grade mentor noting the need for control this weekend.

“It should be a game where we can hopefully control possession and hopefully create some more chances. We want to be very good with the ball and not sell it away cheaply,” he said.

“The last two games have been quite good performances, so we just want to keep building on that coming into the end of the season.”

Warners Bay FC v Broadmeadow Magic
John Street Oval, Sunday 3.40pm

Warners Bay and Broadmeadow will be missing a number of key players as a result of the state government’s COVID-19 restrictions on movement from Greater Sydney, with Warners Bay forced to battle on without Tara Pender.

Second-placed Broadmeadow Magic will be without Kirstyn Antoni and Katie Olivera, though according to coach Jake Curley the depth of his squad will be enough to see them over the line on Sunday.

“The focus for us will be continuing where we left off with the Middies games. We were effective in the final third which is something we want to continue,” he said.

“A good performance will be us continuing to be effective in the final third and scoring the chances we create.”

Curley himself will again be watching from home with the Central Coast resident under stay-at-home orders. The restrictions are scheduled to end on Friday 16 July.

The majority of Curley’s starting squad will head into the match fresh from a weekend off, with the State Cup used as a platform to showcase the next generation of talent.

“The State Cup was an opportunity for us to bring young girls into the senior squad,” Curley said.

“It was also an opportunity for us to rest the majority of the first grade girls and give them a week to freshen up.”

It is the start of a tough run for Warners Bay, who face Newcastle Olympic next weekend. The results of the upcoming fortnight will be an important consideration when it comes to finals football.

The Panthers sit fourth on the table, two points shy of third-placed Maitland and equal on points with Adamstown. Though Warners Bay have a far superior goal difference to the Buds.

According to coach Craig Atkins his side will need to be at its absolute best to knock over Magic.

“We have obviously identified some key areas that we need to work on and focus on. Hopefully we can execute well on Sunday,” Atkins said.

“We’re not going to dwell on missing players, we have people who can come in and fill those roles.”

There is no denying the need for a cohesive effort from the Panthers, though if you ask Atkins, he will tell you these are the games you play football to be a part of.

“It is going to be a complete team effort. Against Broadmeadow there is no room for slip up and we need to be working really hard for each other,” Atkins said.

“These are the games you want to be playing in. I believe these games bring out the best in the players.”

Mid Coast FC v Maitland FC
Taree Zone Field, Sunday 3.40pm

Mid Coast were unlucky not to qualify for the semi-finals at last weekend’s State Cup with Sunday’s match against Maitland a chance to further showcase the next generation of talent being developed on the mid north coast.

“We approached [the State Cup] with a few new objectives. The players that were there have come away with a renewed motivation,” Grass said.

“We need to be a little more committed to what we are doing as a group and as individuals and a little bit more responsible for our own improvement.”

Middies have been left to pick up the pieces on the injury front with four key first graders sidelined. Among them first-choice goalkeeper Xanthe Parsons, Chelsea Hall and Jess Watts.

Alira Knight remains out after she suffered a season-ending knee injury at the start of the year.

Maitland will head into the clash minus Madison Gallegos after she sustained a hamstring injury in the State Cup final. She joins Airlie Gray on the sideline, while an injury cloud hangs over the fitness of Chelsea Gay.

Although excited to have won the silverware, Magpies coach Keelan Hamilton will not let his side slip to any level of complacency with the next few weeks critical when it comes to September football.

“I think the key is to refocus. It was nice for us to last weekend end up with the silverware but the message this week is going to be about refocussing and that there is still a lot of football to played,” Hamilton said.

The Magpies are third on the table with a narrow lead over Warners Bay. The gap between them and second-placed Broadmeadow Magic is 13 points.

“If we can apply ourselves efficiently across all the moments of the game and for long periods then that will be a good performance and I will be happy with the players,” Hamilton said.

In the way of three points on Sunday sits Mid Coast, a team Hamilton will not be taking lightly.

“They play a good style of football. They are well organised so our focus will be on how we use the ball effectively,” he said.

“When we have possession, what is our decision making like, when do we hold it, when can we penetrate and how do we do that.”


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