Herald Women’s Premier League Round 16 Preview

July 22nd, 2021

 Jack Antcliff

Match of the Round

Broadmeadow Magic v Newcastle Olympic
Magic Park, Friday 8pm

It is arguably the biggest game of the year so far with Friday’s cross town derby having the potential to decide the eventual destination of this year’s premiership.

The margin between top-of-the-table Newcastle Olympic and Broadmeadow Magic is just two points but that is far from the mind of Magic coach Jake Curley who is merely after three points.

“It is an important game in the context of the season but I think all the remaining games coming up are important,” he said.

“We need to ensure we get positive results in all our remaining games.”

A win for Magic would see them move back into top spot on the table, one point clear of Olympic. The gap from second to third is 15 points.

“I think we just need to play the way we’ve been playing and be disciplined in defence and we should be okay,” Curley said.

“Tactically we just need to keep our structure and play to our strengths.”

Kirstyn Antoni and Katie Olivera remain sidelined though according to the Magic mentor his side is well capable of handling the mental challenge presented by Friday’s match.

“I think the girls understand the importance of the game,” Curley said.

“I do think the players we have recruited and the existing players we have from last year have the composure to handle the pressure.”

There is sure to be no shortage of emotion at Magic Park, with the heavyweight clash also the third installment in the cross-town derby this year. Both teams have one win to their name so far.

“The history between the two clubs is an important feature of football in Newcastle,” Curley said.

“I think the girls are motivated and I think it’s a great opportunity for both sets of players to contribute too and be part of a traditional derby.”

Charlestown Azzurri v Maitland FC
Lisle Carr Oval, Saturday 3.40pm

Charlestown Azzurri will be out to bounce back from a shock loss to New Lambton when they do battle with Maitland at Lisle Carr Oval on Saturday.

The hosts lost ground in their pursuit of finals football on Wednesday night as they slipped to a 3-2 defeat to last-placed New Lambton. It was Azzurri’s ninth loss of the season.

“We were our own worst enemy. We kind of fell down to their style and level of football rather than playing how we normally would be playing anyone else,” Azzurri coach Niko Papaspiropoulos said.

The Charlestown mentor is well aware of the threat posed by Maitland, while hopeful Wednesday’s loss will prove a before and after mark for the side.

“They have been improving throughout the season much like a number of other teams. We know they are capable of playing a decent style and we have got to be prepared for that,” Papaspiropoulos said.

“I would like to hope it is a moment we wake up from and get back to what we have been doing the past few weeks.”

The Magpies were outclassed by a far superior Broadmeadow outfit last weekend, with coach Keelan Hamilton hopeful his side can bounce back quickly.

“Saturday we will have to be disciplined defensively on transition and also be effective with the ball when we have it,” Hamilton said.

The Magpies will go into the match unchanged with the focus once again on continual growth.

“Our focus is on continued improvement individually and collectively. If we keep focused on that the outcome will be positive in the long run,” Hamilton said.

“Tactically we just need everyone doing their role. If we get that we will give a good account of ourselves.”

That focus on continual improvement was further evident following last weekend’s loss, with the post-match review a further learning for the competition’s newest side.

“As usual we analyse what we did well and what did not go so well from the week before,” Hamilton said.

“We understand the areas we can improve but we don’t lose any belief from losing last week. It’s just another step on the journey to where we want to get to.”

Adamstown Rosebud JFC v Mid Coast FC
Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility, Saturday 7pm

Adamstown Rosebud will look to cement third spot on the Herald Women’s Premier League table when they host Mid Coast on Saturday night.

The Buds knocked over Warners Bay to move into third last weekend, one point clear of Maitland.

The fifth-placed Panthers are three points shy of the Buds though have a game in hand against Mid Coast.

“The focus for the end of the season is to ensure our performances are of the required level to gain results,” Adamstown coach Ryan Campbell said.

“We are going to put a lot of emphasis on the intensity of our play.”

Brianna Trappett will miss Saturday’s clash, while Leia Puxty and Jemma Lawson remain under stay-at-home orders on the Central Coast.

“Saturday we are focusing on our pressing game in order to create chances close to their goals,” Campbell said.

“Tactically, the ability to play quickly on transition will be key in order to get a positive result.”

Saturday’s match will be a rare appearance under lights for Middies who, due to travel logistics, generally feature on a Sunday afternoon.

“If we are to win on Saturday, we’ll need to match their energy while executing the basics under pressure. Something that has eluded us for most of the year,” Mid Coast coach Mick Grass said.

Jess Watts returns in reserve grade having suffered a long-term injury earlier in the year, with a win crucial to avoid falling below New Lambton at the bottom of the table.

Mid Coast still have two games in hand over the Eagles.

“After a loss or a number of losses the key is to remain positive, focus on improvement and maintain the highest standards possible,” Grass said.

“For us to put in a good performance we need to have more of the ball for longer periods. That is where better decision making will be crucial.”

Warners Bay FC v New Lambton FC
John Street Oval, Sunday 3.40pm

New Lambton recorded their first win of the season on Wednesday night against Charlestown, with coach Maddy Searl confident the win can be the catalyst for further success.

The next challenge for the Eagles is a clash away from home with fifth-placed Warners Bay who have lulled in form in recent weeks.

Wednesday night’s win came minus the services of former W-League striker Adriana Jones who has parted ways with the club, though included the debut of Sophie Nenadovic.

Nenadovic has been a regular with Manly in the NSW National Premier League Women’s competition. But with the postponement of that league due to the latest coronavirus outbreak, the 23-year-old has made the switch to the Eagles.

Warners Bay coach Craig Atkins will be hopeful his side can rediscover the form that saw them push to the grand final last season.

The Panthers have six wins, six losses and a draw to their name entering the final stage of this year’s competition. They are fifth on the table, one point clear of Charlestown, and two points shy of Maitland.


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