Match of the Round
Merewether v South Wallsend
Sunday 8th July, 2:30 pm
Last start: Merewether beat Wallsend 2-1, South Wallsend beat Adamstown 2-1
Position on ladder: Merewether 2nd, 25 points; South Wallsend 4th, 10 points
Merewether is still without Jamee Ellis and Sarah Hartree. South Wallsend will field Wednesday nightʼs starting line up with Gemma Harrison coming into the squad.
What the coaches say
South Wallsend coach Brad Parkes is aware of the points table and how critical this match is but said the girls are feeling confident.
“It was great to get a result last night, hopefully, we can back it up again on Sunday,” Parkes said.
“If we perform the way we did last time against Merewether, we should get the three points but we are expecting another tough game against one of the top sides.”
Merewether returns to their stomping ground for just the fifth time this season and has enjoyed success there, having only lost one game at Myamblah Oval all year. United have won on both occasions but it would be dangerous to discount a side that has pushed into the top four after a midweek 2-1 victory over Adamstown. Merewether is still without key players so expect them to be in damage control mode. South Wallsend will be looking for another scalp and to create a top-four buffer which should set the stage for a physical battle.
Wallsend v Adamstown
Sunday 8th July, 2:30 pm
Last start: Wallsend lost 2-1 to Merewether, Adamstown lost 2-1 to South Wallsend
Position on ladder: Wallsend 5th, 8 points; Adamstown last, 5 points
Wallsend is still without Laura Hall who is currently overseas. Adamstown is struggling to field a starting 11 with Olivia Trinka unavailable. Olivia Sneddon returns to goals for her first game in almost eight weeks, after suffering a PCL tear back in round 10.
What the coaches say
Wallsend coach Marc Hingston said his side is feeling disheartened with their results the last two weeks but are optimistic they can walk away with the chocolates and push back into the fourth spot.
“Itʼs been heartbreaking the last couple of weeks because we feel like we have played well enough to have the six points,” Hingston said.
“Our football the last two weeks has been outstanding and the way we are playing, we could compete with any team in the competition.
“I think our biggest area of improvement is developing football maturity in the front and final third which is the only thing costing us games at the moment but that will come with experience.
“Clare is great for them when she makes runs and pushes forward, Elodie is always strong in the middle and Lauren adds great strike power for them up front.
“We need to be really strong defensively and not give away silly fouls because Adamstown are the type of side that will capitalise on that.
“We have prepared well heading into the game on Sunday and hopefully the football gods are with us because we hit the crossbar three times last weekend but it should be a competitive game.”
Adamstown coach Paul Devitis said his team is shattered after their narrow loss to South Wallsend on Wednesday night, but know they are still in contention for finals and need to make every game count.
“Weʼre playing at their ground which is quite big so we need to use the width of the field effectively,”Devitis said.
“Pushing the ball out wide is going to be a focus for us because we have great wingers who can create chances for us.
“Switching the point of attack is something we have talked about quite a bit lately which we need to do a little bit better and also keeping our defence compact.
“I think with the girls having the added pressure of must-win games these last few weeks, itʼs made them kind of caged in which has really limited our opportunities.
“Iʼm hoping that we will be able to play with a bit more freedom and obviously itʼs still a must-win game, but if we go back to playing simple football, the opposition canʼt get the ball off us and we will be hard to beat.”
A do or die match with the dream of playing finals football hanging in the balance for both teams. Wallsend has more to give this season and will hopefully be out to prove a point for these last few weeks. Consistency has been a hurdle they have struggled to overcome but when they play for 90 minutes, they can compete with the best. Adamstown has had a difficult time with injuries and seemed unlikely to recover, but their performance against South Wallsend on Wednesday night suggests they may have turned a corner. Both teams can be incredibly strong on their day and are more than capable of being premiership contenders. It should be a cracking match with the battle likely to be won in the front third.