Photo: Valentine Sports Photography
Match of the Round
South Wallsend v Adamstown
Sunday, July 17, 2.15pm
At Walker Fields
Last start: South Wallsend lost 2-1 to Merewether; Adamstown beat Mid North Coast 6-0.
Head to head: Played twice this season. Adamstown won 2-0 in round five and 3-1 in round 12.
Position on ladder: Adamstown lead with 40 points, South Wallsend fifth (14).
Adamstown can secure the minor premiership with a win this weekend but South Wallsend have the potential to take points of any side in this competition.
The hosts beat fourth-placed Wallsend two weeks ago and were on level terms with third-placed Merewether last weekend before United found a match-winning goal at the death.
South Wallsend player-coach Elyce Bates admitted it was hard to keep playing knowing they cannot make the top four but the thought of beating another top side was keeping them motivated.
“We want to finish strong and have a bit of fun,” Bates said.
“Everyone is in good spirits and happy with the way we’ve been playing; we’re matching it with the top teams and I’d love to go out this season and have a couple of upsets.”
“It’d be nice to get up, that would give us a heap of confidence knowing we could definitely be up there, we just didn’t start the season very well.”
“I don’t think we’ll be out of this game at all,” Bates concluded.
Adamstown coach Ben Herron agreed, saying this match-up “will definitely be a tougher game” than previous encounters with South Wallsend.
Rosebud put their season back on track with back-to-back wins in a double-header last weekend but was still questioning the commitment of some of his players as they head towards the finals.
“I’ll be looking at them to pull out a big performance,” Herron said.
“A few battled on the weekend because their preparation was a bit ordinary and some girls need to aim up or they will be watching the finals from the sideline.”
Olivia Trinka showed promising signs last weekend as she returned from injury with short stints in 18s and first grade and she is expected to come into the mix again.
South Wallsend could take the field without Amber Neilson, who is in doubt through work commitments, but left-sided player Kiarra Lewis returns after missing last week’s match due to getting her wisdom teeth out.
Thornton v Warners Bay
At Thornton Park
Last start: Thornton lost 7-0 to Adamstown; Warners Bay beat Adamstown 2-1.
Head to head: Played twice this season. Warners Bay won 5-0 in round five and 4-1 in round 12.
Position on ladder: Thornton sixth (9), Warners Bay third (29).
Warners Bay are the only side mathematically capable of overhauling Adamstown for top spot on the ladder as the league heads towards the business end of the season.
But they would have to win all four of their remaining matches and hope Adamstown do not win their two games left in the season proper.
Warners Bay coach Leon Davis was only worried about his side continuing the performance which has them rated the form side of the league at the moment.
“We will just worry about ourselves but we won’t discount Thornton,” Davis said.
“If we don’t play well they will have us very much on our toes.”
The match will be the first of three in a week for the Bay, who back up against Wallsend on Wednesday night before hosting South Wallsend in round 20.
This match is the second of a weekend double-header for the Redbacks, who host Mid North Coast on Saturday in a rescheduled fixture.
Warners Bay coach Leon Davis will be without Smith sisters Taylah and Maddie through unavailability and expects at least five players out on Wednesday night.
Mid North Coast v Merewether
At Fairmont Gardens
Last start: Mid North Coast lost 6-0 to Adamstown; Merewether beat South Wallsend 2-1.
Head to head: They have played twice this season. Merewether won 1-0 in round five and 1-0 in round 12.
Position on ladder: Merewether second (32), Mid North Coast last (2).
For some reason, Merewether seem to struggle against Mid North Coast and coach Cassie Koppen expected another tough match against the last-placed side.
“We never find them an easy team to play, especially up there, so we need to stay switched on for 90 minutes,” Koppen said.
The defending champions head to Wauchope without Ellie Withers and Sarah Halvorsen, who are out due to other commitments.
Koppen said the absence of the pair would “reduces some pretty strong attacking options up front for us” and hinted that she would tinker with her lineup to work on a few different combinations ahead of the finals next month.
The match will be the second of a weekend double-header for the Middies, who travel to Thornton to play the Redbacks on Saturday.
Mid North Coast coach Matt Baker said they the squad would be “thin” over the weekend but training this week had been extremely positive and his players were all looking forward to the challenge.
He was expecting to have only eight first-grade players available for Saturday and maybe 10 on Sunday.
“The numbers are not good and we are scraping to get a team together, but the girls all still want to play,” Baker said.
“We’ll dig deep and give it our best shot,” Baker concluded.
Wallsend – bye
Points table: Adamstown 40, Merewether 32, Warners Bay 29, Wallsend 24, South Wallsend 14, Thornton 9, Mid North Coast 2.