Match of the Round
Adamstown v Merewether
Sunday, May 1, 1.45pm
Last start: Adamstown beat South Wallsend 2-0 in round five; Merewether drew 0-0 with Wallsend last weekend.
Last time they met: Adamstown won 2-1 in round one.
Position on ladder: Merewether on top with 13 points; Adamstown also have 13 points but are second with an inferior goal difference.
There are many factors pointing to this match being an absolute show-stopper.
The two sides are long-standing foes with plenty of respect for each other. They are also locked on top of the league ladder and a win for either could give them a handy buffer over their premiership rivals.
There is also the added bonus of the game being held on Adamstown’s main ground, which should provide the perfect surface for an entertaining, highly skilled match.
Adamstown have the extra incentive of being in a position to take six points from a weekend double-header which would give them a huge advantage over Merewether as the competition enters the second of three rounds.
Rosebud host Mid North Coast in a rescheduled round-five clash on Saturday before backing up against the defending champions on Sunday.
It will be a big ask for Adamstown, who will not have played for three weeks when they take the field on Saturday as they had the bye last round and a washed-out game the weekend prior.
Rosebud coach Ben Herron said the break had been “a bit of a godsend to recharge the batteries a little bit” and they were looking forward to getting back onto their main pitch after being “slightly hindered on a smaller ground”.
He said they could not take Mid North Coast lightly on Saturday despite their position at the bottom of the table and also needed to ensure they “come out unscathed for Sunday”.
Adamstown upset Merewether 2-1 in the opening match of the season and Herron expected another tough battle this weekend.
“They seem to be happy to sit back and try to counter, so we’ll be slightly aware of that,” he said.
“We will have heavy legs on Sunday and just have to make sure we play smart and respect the ball.”
Merewether coach Cassie Koppen said the match was one they always looked forward to.
“We love playing Adamstown on that ground. They are our closest and longest rivals; we have both been in it since day one,” Koppen said.
Koppen said they had not dwelled on the fact that they had lost to Adamstown as they prepared for this match.
“The good thing is that we haven’t conceded any goals since then and that was the first game of the season,” Koppen said.
“We have changed the team a bit since then and we will be going into this game with a lot more confidence.
“We have the best defensive record in the league and just need to convert that into attack and capitalise on our chances. We have been working on trying to play a bit more positive, moving the ball faster and creating more chances.”
Adamstown will be at full strength if all players get through Saturday unscathed while Koppen was hoping to have Hannah Sunasky and Tayla Braithwaite back in action this weekend.
Thornton v Mid North Coast
Sunday, May 1, 2.15pm
Last start: Thornton lost 7-1 to Wallsend last night; Mid North Coast lost 6-0 to Warners Bay last weekend.
Last time they met: Thornton beat Mid North Coast 3-1 in round one.
Position on ladder: Thornton sixth on three points; Mid North Coast seventh with one point.
A win for either of these sides could prove a turning point to their season.
Both teams showed glimpses of quality football in the first round but are perhaps lacking in confidence after sustaining some heavy losses.
The match will be a bit of a challenge on a number of fronts for both opponents as it is the third in eight days for Thornton and the second of a weekend double-header for Mid North Coast.
Thornton hosted Wallsend last night in their rescheduled round-five fixture and came out firing.
They had an unbeaten Wallsend on the back foot early and led 1-0 in an inspired first-half performance. Wallsend ended up winning 7-1 but Redbacks coach Alan Primmer felt the scoreline was not a true reflection of the game and was pleased with his side’s effort.
“The first 30 minutes was brilliant and that was our best 45 all year,” Primmer said. “I was really happy with the effort and hard work putting in for each other.”
Mid North Coast are hoping to put behind them a disrupted few weeks in which they have struggled to find momentum. They will travel light to their rescheduled round-five game with Adamstown on Saturday but should have a couple of fresh players to add to the squad for Sunday.
Mid North Coast coach Matt Baker has this week emphasised the need to support teammates.
“We have got to support from the back to the front; we’ve got to support each other and that will be my focal point this weekend,” Baker said.
“When we do win the ball we’ve got to support each other,” Baker concluded.
Interestingly enough, Thornton have never beaten Mid North Coast at Thornton.
South Wallsend v Wallsend
Sunday, May 1, 1.45pm
At Walker Fields
Last start: South Wallsend beat Thornton 2-1 last weekend; Wallsend downed Thornton 7-1 last night.
Last time they met: Wallsend defeated South Wallsend 2-1 in round one.
Position on ladder: Wallsend third with 12 points; South Wallsend fifth on four points.
The game is the third in eight days for Wallsend, who defeated Thornton 7-1 last night after trailing 1-0 early, while South Wallsend should be buoyed by a breakthrough victory last weekend.
South Wallsend recorded their first win of the season last round when they beat Thornton 2-1 and player-coach Elyce Bates said the result had been a huge confidence boost.
“They’re going to be tough but we’re still very competitive – we won the second half when we played them in the first round – and we will have that little bit of confidence from the weekend as well,” Bates said.
Wallsend coach Marc Hingston said Thornton had his side on the back foot in the first half of last night’s match but was happy with how they regained composure to win 7-1.
South Wallsend welcome back Gemma Pearce this weekend and Bates said the return of Gabbie Deacon to training this week for the first time since breaking her collarbone early in the season had also boosted the spirits of the squad.
Warners Bay have the bye
Herald WPL Points table: Merewether 13, Adamstown 13, Wallsend 12, Warners Bay 10, South Wallsend 4, Thornton 3, Mid North Coast 1.