PHOTO: VALENTINE SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
Match of the Round
Thornton v Mid North Coast
Sunday, June 18, 2.15pm
At Thornton Park.
Last start: Thornton lost 4-0 to Adamstown; Mid North lost 4-2 to Merewether.
This season: Mid North Coast beat Thornton 8-0 in round one then 3-0 in round eight.
Position on ladder: Mid North Coast fifth, 11 points; Thornton last, three points.
Squad news: Mid North Coast have lost young gun Esther Ting to a season-ending injury sustained against Merewether in their last outing. Thornton will be at full strength.
What the coaches say: Mid North Coast coach Mick Day rated the loss of Esther Ting as “a massive loss for us” but said the squad remained upbeat and keen for this outing.
“Thornton play a good style of football and we are looking forward to the game.”
Both coaches said wet weather had disrupted usual training but Mid North Coast had headed indoors while Redbacks coach Robbie Richardson said they had managed to keep ticking over with sessions at Cessnock hockey centre.
“Everyone is fit and they are all up for this game,” Richardson said.
Bottom line: Wet weather looks to be the biggest obstacle this weekend but if the game goes ahead this should be a hard-fought encounter. Thornton continues to work hard despite registering just one win this season and Mid North Coast have matched it with every team in the league without always getting a result. They will be desperate for a win to kick off the final round of the three-round competition.
Warners Bay v Adamstown
Sunday, June 18, 2.15pm
At John Street Oval
Last start: Warners Bay beat Merewether 1-0; Adamstown beat Thornton 4-0.
This season: Warners Bay won 4-2 in round one and 5-2 in round eight.
Position on ladder: Warners Bay first 30 points; Adamstown third, 17 points.
Squad news: Warners Bay are without Corinne Krupa, who is suspended, and Nadja Squires and Sophie Stapleford through unavailability. Adamstown have lost striker Ryley Field for the season to a broken leg.
What the coaches say: Adamstown coach Lou D’Amico was expecting his squad to be “thinnish” this weekend but remained confident they would be well and truly in this battle with the competition front-runners.
“We know it’s going to be a hard game, obviously they are a top-two side and we are looking forward to the challenge,” D’Amico said.
“We’ve been in there in the past two games with them and the game just got away from us at the end.”
Warners Bay will not have played for three weeks but player-coach Cassidy Davis expects they’ll have no trouble “getting back into gear”.
“It’s not ideal but I think the girls will be fine,” Davis said.
“Adamstown have had some good results and they’re not a team to take lightly.
“Lauren Allen is a big positive for them; she’s a goal scorer and will be hard to stop.
Bottom line: This is the first game in a big week for Adamstown, who back up against Wallsend next Thursday night then host other league heavyweights Merewether in round 16. Rosebud have not lost a game since heavy back-to-back losses to Warners Bay and United last round, so this will give them a gauge of how they are faring with the business end of the season looming large. Expect a much tighter affair than their last score indicated.
South Wallsend v Merewether
Sunday, June 18, 2.15pm
At Walker Fields
Last start: South Wallsend drew 2-2 with Wallsend; Merewether beat Mid North Coast 4-2.
This season: Merewether won 6-0 in round one and 5-2 in round eight.
Position on ladder: Merewether second, 30 points; South Wallsend fourth, 12 points.
Squad news: United are without suspended goalkeeper Alison Logue. South Wallsend welcome back midfielder Erin Wilson back from injury but could be without experienced defender Emma Stevenson through unavailability.
What the coaches say: Merewether coach Cassie Koppen was wary of the Wolves despite two convincing results against them in two meetings this season.
“They’ve definitely got a lot of experience in their team and probably haven’t been able to capitalise on that yet,” Koppen said.
“They gave us a scare last time. It was close and wasn’t until the second half that we went away with the game.
“With the players they’ve got, they’re certainly capable of doing some damage.”
Wolves coach Gary Wilson wants to see an improvement at both ends of the field.
“We’re scoring goals but we’re missing a lot of chances as well,” he said.
“To be fair, we need to more clinical at both ends. We have to be that little bit more committed in both 18-yard boxes.”
Bottom line: The absence of former W-League goalkeeper Alison Logue will be a big loss for United, who have conceded just 10 goals in 11 outings this season for the best defensive record in the competition. South Wallsend, on the other hand, have leaked 33 goals for the league’s second-worst defensive record. The return of Erin Wilson will be a big boost for South Wallsend, who have the ability to match it with any team but have struggled with consistency.
Wallsend – bye
Points table: Warners Bay 30, Merewether 30, Adamstown 17, South Wallsend 12, Mid North Coast 11, Wallsend 8, Thornton 3.