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Match of the Round
New Lambton v Merewether
Saturday 21st July, 4:30pm
Last start: New Lambton defeated South Wallsend 1-0, Merewether defeated South Wallsend 1-0.
Position on ladder: New Lambton 3rd, 24 points; Merewether 2nd, 28 points
Carson McGovern is away and Stacey Day will miss the match due to work commitments in an otherwise unchanged Eagles side.
What the coaches say
New Lambton coach Keelan Hamilton said the side is still recovering from TAFE NSW Women’s State Cup but is still expecting a strong performance on Saturday.
“It’s a short week for us because we gave the girls Monday off, so we just did a small technical session on Wednesday night – which was good.
“Improving our execution with first touches and accurate passing are two aspects of our game we need to work on but it is an ongoing process that will develop with time.
“Both times we have played Merewether, it’s been a tight game and they perform well regardless of who they are missing, which is why they are one of the top teams in the competition.
“It seems more than likely we will be playing Merewether in the semi-finals which is in the back of our minds so it will be a big test for us but a challenge we are looking forward too,” Hamilton concluded.
Both times these two sides have met in season 2018, it has resulted in a stalemate. This has this match shaping up to be an entertaining, physical and hard-fought battle.
New Lambton has enjoyed success at Alder Park this season, having only lost one out of five matches at the familiar stomping ground.
Merewether will still manage to get the job done, even though they are missing key players and have barely formed a starting 11 for the past month. The stage is set for an absolute cracking match that could go either way.
Warners Bay v Wallsend
Sunday 22nd July, 2:30pm
John Street Oval
Last start: Warners Bay defeated Adamstown 6-1, Wallsend lost 5-1 to Adamstown
Position on ladder: Warners Bay 1st, 32 points; Wallsend last, 8 points.
Warners Bay is without Airlie Davis, Sophie Stapleford, Toria Campbell and Sian Keating with replacements still to be decided. Wallsend is missing Laura Hall and Georgia Minors but are boosted by the return of Brooke Summers from injury.
What the coaches say
Wallsend coach Marc Hingston said his side is still on a high after their strong performance at the TAFE NSW Women’s State Cup last weekend but is aware of the challenge they face for a spot in the finals.
“For us, it’s about getting the girls completely recovered and ready for Sunday, it’s a huge game for us and we are well aware of what is at stake,” Hingston said.
“I think it’s really important for us to take the confidence from the weekend and carry it into Sunday because we are up against Warners Bay who are difficult to beat.
“Last weekend was really important for us because we have been waiting so long to get a good result which has unfortunately taken us longer than we would have liked.
“The girls are pretty relaxed at the moment and I think it’s important for us to stay as calm as possible and not let the pressure get the best of us.
“We have spoken about this game as a team and essentially, we see it as a grand final preview because they will most likely be there on the day which is in the back of our minds.
“Warners Bay are no doubt a quality side but we are full of confidence and believe we can beat any team so we are definitely looking forward to it.”
Warners Bay player-coach Cass Davis will be calling on her Under 20’s team to fill the void in what’s expected to be a tough day at the office for the Panthers.
“Obviously Wallsend need to win to keep their finals hopes alive and after performing well in the TAFE NSW Women’s State Cup, we know they will come out ready to play.
“They are strong across the park and we aren’t thinking about previous results because they proved last weekend they are capable of competing with any team.
“We have quite a few players unavailable so it’s going to be a tough day for some players having to play two games but we will do what’s required to get a result against Wallsend,” said Davis.
Looking at the ladder, it’s easy to pick Warners Bay as clear-cut winners but this game is anything but. With Wallsend coming off their courageous effort at TAFE NSW Women’s State Cup last weekend, Warners Bay has a chance to wrap up the minor premiership which will be a motivating factor for them. They may struggle with three of their starting backline unavailable.
Wallsend will be playing for a chance at finals football which should see them fired up and goal hungry. The deciding factor will be whether Warners Bay can still perform without key players and if Wallsend are to keep their season alive, now is their chance to strike.