Adamstown v Merewether
Sunday, June 16, 2:15pm
At Adamstown Oval
Last start: Adamstown beat South Wallsend 3-1; Merewether defeated Wallsend 4-1.
Encounters this season: Played two. Adamstown won 2-1 in round 11 and 4-2 in round 8.
Position on ladder: Adamstown first with 31 points; Merewether third on goal difference (23 points).
Adamstown may be unbeaten, runaway league leaders but coach Ben Herron is wary of playing defending champions Merewether after a three-week break.
Rosebud are the form team of 2016 but have not played since downing South Wallsend 3-1 on May 28. Their round 13 match was washed out and they had the bye last weekend.
“We didn’t miss any sessions; we managed to keep ticking over, but I am a little bit concerned that we haven’t played for a couple of weeks,” Herron said.
“The last time we came off a bye we played Mid North Coast and we did not play well.”
Adamstown hold an eight-point advantage over the field as the competition heads into the third and final round and Herron said he would be making sure there were no relaxed attitudes as they pushed to finish the season as strongly as they have started.
“I’ve got to try to get them switched back on now,” he said.
“We can’t look at the board and think we’re right.”
“We’ve got a nice hard run coming up with Merwether then Wallsend then Warners Bay and if we are switched on we can try to continue on our way.”
Adamstown hold a 2-0 advantage over Merewether this year but the latter produced possibly their best performance of the season last weekend in beating Wallsend 4-1.
United coach Cassie Koppen described United as “more like the Merewether of last year” after the match last weekend and said they would take confidence from three wins in a row but expected a tough hit-out.
“We’ve been in their position and I think it was about this time last season we lost our first game, so there is a lot of pressure on them and they’ll be wanting to keep going with it without losing any points for as long as they can,” Koppen acknowledged.
Koppen said they need to be more clinical in attack and must defend tighter higher up the pitch to prevent Adamstown from launching their trademark counter-attacks.
She also identified Rhali Dobson as Adamstown’s “biggest threat” and said they would be trying to nullify the Newcastle Jets striker.
Merewether will be at full strength and Adamstown will be without injured midfielder Ryley Field but welcome attacking weapon Lauren Allen into the squad.
Thornton v Mid North Coast
Sunday, June 16, 2:15pm
At Thornton Park
Last start: Thornton lost 3-1 to Wallsend last night; Mid North Coast lost 8-0 to Warners Bay last weekend.
Encounters this season: Played twice. Thornton won 3-1 in round one and 4-0 in round eight.
Position on ladder: Thornton fifth (9); Mid North Coast last (2).
Thornton coach Alan Primmer has issued his side the goal of doubling their competition points by the end of the season, starting with a win over Mid North Coast this weekend.
The Redbacks, who went down 3-1 to Wallsend in a rescheduled fixture last night, have beaten the Middies in two appearances already this season.
Primmer said a strong win on Sunday could prove the catalyst for a big finish to the season.
“I expect the Middies to play as they normally do; they’ll be enthusiastic and we will need to take our chances,” Primmer said.
“This is the last round now and we need to continue to make ourselves a nuisance.”
“We have set ourselves the target to double our points tally and to do that, hopefully we can beat the Middies and South Wallsend and upset a top-four side again.”
The Redbacks will be back to full strength for the clash after missing several personnel, including key player Sophie Milton, for their rescheduled fixture with Wallsend last night.
Mid North Coast will be looking to bounce back from an 8-0 loss to high-flying Warners Bay and to get their first win of the season.
South Wallsend v Wallsend
Sunday, June 16, 2:15pm
At Walker Fields
Last start: South Wallsend lost 4-2 to Warners Bay last night; Wallsend beat Thornton 3-1 last night.
Encounters this season: Wallsend won 2-1 in round one and 4-1 in round eight.
Position on ladder: South Wallsend sixth (8); Wallsend fourth (21).
Player-coach Elyce Bates expected South Wallsend to take plenty of confidence into this match after a strong showing despite a 4-2 loss to second-placed Warners Bay last night.
South Wallsend had Warners Bay at sixes and sevens at times in the first half last night and were well in it when trailing 2-1 at the break.
“I thought we played well, we just let ourselves down at times,” Bates said.
“We really frustrated them in the first half and played some quality football.
“It was a huge improvement from the first round when they beat us 5-0 and we’ve got to give ourselves credit for matching it with them.”
Wallsend coach said Marc Hingston said they were back to their best as they overpowered Thornton 3-1 in their rescheduled fixture last night, but the Red Devils have suffered from inconsistency this season.
“The really pleasing thing was how quickly we turned around a poor performance from the weekend against Merewether,” Hingston said.
“We played very well. We need consistency now.”
“I expect South Wallsend will throw everything but the kitchen sink at us; they’ve got nothing to lose and it is the last time we play them this season, so we are expecting a tough game.”
South Wallsend will be without Kirralee Gardener for the match due to unavailability.
Lisa Cochrane returns to the Wallsend side after missing the game last night and Hingston expects to have a full complement at his disposal.
Warners Bay – bye
Herald WPL points table: Adamstown 31, Warners Bay 23, Merewether 23, Wallsend 21, Thornton 9, South Wallsend 8, Mid North Coast 2.