Match of the Round
Broadmeadow Magic v New Lambton
Magic Park, Friday 7.45pm
Broadmeadow Magic coach Jake Curley will hope for more of the same when his side face New Lambton on Friday night.
The women in red delivered a devastating 23-minute window against Charlestown last week, scoring three goals and sending a clear message to the rest of the competition.
“Our approach is to continue working on our combinations and positional play. We were really good in the second half last week and we want to keep that going,” he said.
Magic sits three points clear of Newcastle Olympic at the top of the table. A win on Sunday would at the minimum maintain that margin.
“Our squad has a number of niggles at the moment but we will manage to get through Friday night and then the girls will have a five-day break to recover,” Curley said.
Asked as to what a good performance for his side would look like, Curley listed “keeping possession, waiting for the right opportunity and being confident in what you do,” as key to three points.
Newly-appointed New Lambton head coach Maddy Searl will hope her side can deliver the upset of the season away from home.
Magic and New Lambton have met on two-occasions in the Herald Women’s Premier League with the women in red victorious on both occasions.
“Generally, across the squad the players are competitive. There is drive in the team to be the best they can and to compete with every team,” Searl said.
New Lambton will be without six of its senior squad for the clash, which includes Georgia Minors. According to Searl, containing the attacking prowess of Magic will be key to a positive result.
“Defence will be key for us Friday night. The girls are looking forward to getting back on the pitch and having another positive performance,” she said.
Adamstown Rosebud JFC v Charlestown Azzurri
Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility, Saturday 7pm
Herald Women’s Premier League football returns to Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility this weekend as Adamstown host Charlestown Azzurri under lights.
Ellen Hughes remains unavailable for the Buds as she recovers from injury. Coach Ryan Campbell is hopeful of her return in coming weeks, with the weekend’s focus “positive possession.”
“We are just focusing on us and making sure that we implement the things we have been working on in the games,” Campbell said.
“A good performance for us this weekend will be ensuring we are positive in possession, we create a few more chances but more importantly don’t make errors that give chances to the opposition.”
According to Campbell, there is still plenty of room for improvement in the young Rosebud side, who will look to test Charlestown with their composed shape.
“I believe things are moving in the right direction around the squad.,” Campbell said.
“We had a review meeting on Tuesday which was very productive and the girls identified some key things they need to do in order to step up and improve results.”
Charlestown Azzurri coach Michael Lee will be starting to wonder what he did to deserve the horrid run of injuries that have occurred at Lisle Carr Oval.
Headlined by a long-term injury to Lori Depczynski, Azzurri will be without a raft of players that includes Isabella Ramzan-Levy and Mischa Ball. Ramzan-Levy, 19, looked impressive in Azzurri’s last start against Magic, scoring her side’s only goal.
Imogen Tusek remains a possibility to play as she recovers from injury, while May Bailey is unavailable due to work commitments. Ash Gavin is also under an injury cloud.
“If we get 11 starters, the key will be maintaining pressure for the whole game without having to make forced changes,” Lee said.
“A good performance is a win without leaking any goals.”
Despite the growing list of injuries, there was some good news this week at Charlestown with Jess Gentle granted her international clearance. The Azzurri mentor describing the news as “one bright spot amid a sea of darkness.”
“The girls are training well but it is a struggle to get a full team.
“We play Adamstown who play the game properly and are well organised. I see the game as a must win even though we are skinny for players.”
Newcastle Olympic v Mid Coast FC
Darling Street Oval, Sunday 3.40pm
Newcastle Olympic will hope to make it back-to-back wins when they welcome the travelling Mid Coast to Darling Street Oval on Sunday.
Keea Parrish returns for the hosts, with coach Harmonie Attwill confident her side can break down a stylish Middies squad.
“The key to winning against Mid Coast will be to control possession and show confidence through our midfield, as well as combine effectively in the front third to convert goal scoring opportunities,” Attwill said.
Newcastle Olympic are two from three to start the season, with the side’s only loss a fortnight ago against a rampant Broadmeadow. The two-goal loss to the Magic was an opportunity to reflect.
“The squad has worked hard this week. We have had a quality training week within the club with inter-club sessions against our men’s squads,” Attwill said.
“As a playing group, we are focusing on improving each week and successfully executing the weekly game plan.
“We want to improve our execution in the front third and provide more goal scoring opportunities.”
Georgia Little remains under an injury cloud, with medical advice on a number of previous concussions to determine her return to play.
“A good performance will see the team convert opportunities and continue as a strong defensive unit to eliminate goals scored against us,” Attwill said.
Further north, Mid Coast will hope to merely get on the park after a disrupted start to the season. Its first-round match against Charlestown was postponed due to flooding, with last weekend’s match against Warners Bay washed out.
“Overall, everyone is in an upbeat mood. We’re just hoping to finally get another game. It’s been an incredibly frustrating start to the season,” Mid Coast coach Mick Grass said.
“Our approach this week has been to try to get as many miles in our legs as possible. Without matches we’ve attempted to replicate match conditioning.”
According to the Mid Coast mentor, discipline and determination will prove the point of difference on Sunday.
“The key for us to get the three points will be for us to be disciplined enough to stick to our strategy for the whole match,” Grass said.
“A good performance would see us competing in every moment and situation of the game.”
Warners Bay FC v Maitland FC
John Street Oval, Sunday 3.40pm
Maitland will also be looking for back-to-back wins when they travel to John Street Oval to take on Warners Bay on Sunday afternoon.
The Magpies recorded their first win in the Herald Women’s Premier League last weekend against Adamstown, with coach Keelan Hamilton hopeful his side can again deliver a strong performance.
Last week’s 6-2 win will bring confidence to the side, with specific focus on the Magpies execution in the final third. Last week, Chelsea Gay bagged a hat-trick while Mercedes McNabb found the scoresheet on two occasions.
The weekend off may just prove the perfect fire in the belly for Warners Bay, who had their match against Mid Coast washed out.
“The girls are keen for the game this weekend after missing last weekend’s game. Training has been intense which is a good sign,” Warners Bay coach Craig Atkins said.
According to Atkins, three points on Sunday will be dependent on a “strong team performance, intensity and communication.”
“Every player needs to work hard and support each other on and off the ball. And we need to use the ball effectively.”
Several players remain under an injury cloud for the Panthers coach Atkins believes all will be fit to play come the weekend.
“We do have a couple of niggling injuries so we will see how those players go at training on Thursday night,” he said.
“We will be taking a positive approach into this game especially after a much-improved performance in our last game.
“There is still a whole lot of improvement in us but we need to ensure that improvement each week now.”