Herald Women’s Premier League Round 8 Preview

May 20th, 2021

 Jack Antcliff

2021 Mental Health Round

Match of the Round

Broadmeadow Magic v Maitland FC
Magic Park, Friday 8pm

Match of the Round action returns to Magic Park on Friday night when Broadmeadow host fourth-placed Maitland.

The women in red head into the match off the back of a 2-2 draw with Warners Bay, while Maitland will be brimming with confidence having knocked over Mid Coast by five goals. Though the Magpies have also been forced to deal with a short turnaround having played Middies last Sunday.

“The focus has been on recovery and freshening the players up with the short turnaround,” Maitland coach Keelan Hamilton said.

The visitors are expected to be at full strength for the match, which gets underway at the later time of 8pm.

“Our approach is to try and implement our football and play positively to try and win the match,” Hamilton said.

“A good performance is one where we stick to our process and implement our football consistently. We will try and take the game on.”

According to Hamilton, the game will be won or lost at the feet of individuals, with control crucial to three points.

“I think it will be won by whichever team can win the individual battles and get control of the midfield,” he said.

Broadmeadow remain without Erin Wilson and Lucy Kell for the clash, while Kobie Ferguson will also miss the match. Ferguson is expected to return next week.

“Our approach this week has been working on keeping possession in tight areas and decision making,” Magic coach Jake Curley said.

“Maitland plays a good style of football so I think if we can maintain our structures we will have a good chance of getting a result.”

Known for his out of the box one liners before his teams take the field, Curley noted his word’s would be far more football oriented this week.

“My final words will be good decision making and keep your structure,” he said.

“A good performance for us this weekend will be to build on how we’ve played the last few weeks and to keep the momentum going.”

Adamstown Rosebud JFC v New Lambton FC
Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility, Saturday 7pm

Adamstown will be out to break a three-game losing streak when they host last-placed New Lambton at Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility on Saturday.

The Buds have proved a handful for the competition’s best but are yet to record a win against a side positioned ahead of them on the table.

Kiarra Lewis and Leia Puxty have led the ambush for the Buds in recent weeks, while goalkeeper Olivia Sneddon has drawn praise from opposition coaches.

The Buds will prove a tough task for a young New Lambton squad, who are yet to win a game this season. For Eagles coach Maddy Searl, she believes finishing chances they create will be key to three points.

Searl is blessed with no shortage of attacking firepower. Both Adriana Jones and Jenna Kingsley have extensive W-League experience, along with championship success in the Herald Women’s Premier League.

“A good performance for us will see us controlling the play and looking to unleash our attackers,” Searl said.

Adamstown have become well known for their physicality, with the aggressive approach of the Buds a talked about threat for opposition coaches.

“We will need to match Adamstown’s intensity from the kick-off. The girls know they need to be ready for a physical game,” Searl said.

“You read every preview from the opposition coach when playing Adamstown and it’s always about matching the physicality side of the game against them.”

As for the final words of advice from the Eagles mentor, Searl will be keeping the message simple.

“My final words will be all about confidence and backing themselves,” she said.

Mid Coast FC v Charlestown Azzurri
Taree Zone Field, Sunday 3.40pm

By the time Sunday afternoon rolls around, Mid Coast and Charlestown will already be well acquainted with each other. The two sides will meet on Saturday in their rescheduled round one fixture, before they again clash at Taree Zone Field on Sunday.

For both sides, load management will likely prove the difference on Sunday, with the challenge of back-to-back games a daunting one.

“The overall approach to training doesn’t change too much. Maybe we do more intense stuff earlier on in the week and do more tactical, or more low intensity later in the week,” Charlestown coach Niko Papaspiropoulos said.

“Since it is the same team on both Saturday and Sunday, the approach will be similar but I guess after the first game there might be some minor tactical or structural changes.”

The two sides are yet to face each other in this year’s competition, though if you were to wind back the clock to the last time the pair met in late 2020, it was Middies who delivered a crucial upset.

“We’ve already talked about this week being quite important because if we can get maximum points here then it puts us into the top four mix,” Papaspiropoulos said.

“I don’t think we want to over stress anything in regard to this game relevant to other games. Every game is really crunch time across the board.”

Papaspiropoulos believes his side will be back to full strength in coming weeks, after injuries left Azzurri scrambling for players early in the season. In the eyes of the newly appointed mentor, a strong performance will be one where his side is “mentality positive and confident.”

“Just to go out there and have the desire to win and make sure we’re positive and confident with the ball. And to go out there and dominate the game,” he said.

Kick-off for Saturday’s match at Lisle Carr Oval is 3:40pm, while Sunday’s return fixture at Taree gets underway at the same time.

Warners Bay FC v Newcastle Olympic
John Street Oval, Sunday 3.40pm

Warners Bay will be out to knock over one of the competition’s heavyweights when they host Newcastle Olympic at John Street Oval on Sunday.

The Panthers last week scored a draw against top of the table Broadmeadow Magic, with Sunday’s opponent five points clear of Warners Bay on the table. Panthers coach Craig Atkins believes the midfield could play a crucial role in who walks away with three points.

“We just need to continue being positive and working hard for each other. Get ourselves into the contest early, as we did against Magic, and continue playing for the entire game,” he said.

“After analysing last week’s games, we have identified a number of areas that we need to continue to work on to improve our overall team performances.”

Atkin’s final words before kick-off will be simple, “believe in yourself and enjoy your football,” while the sides’ on-field mentality will define next week’s video review session.

“A good performance will be one where the intensity and character is what we have been showing in previous weeks,” Atkins said.

Warners Bay are expected to be at full strength for the match, while Olympic will again be without a number of key players.

Keea Parrish headlines the injury list after she sustained a hamstring injury against Adamstown, while Sophie O’Brien is recovering from an Achilles injury. Jemma House is unavailable.

“Despite the loss of certain players, this will not shift our focus from the standard we have set for ourselves and the desire to be consistent throughout the season,” Olympic coach Harmonie Attwill said.

Olympic have six wins from seven games to start the season, with their only loss coming at the hands of Broadmeadow Magic. House has again led the way for the women in blue with nine goals.

“We welcome another challenging game against Warners Bay which will provide an opportunity to assess our progress from our round one match,” Attwill said.

This weekend is Northern NSW Football’s second annual Mental Health Round (21 to 23 May).

The purpose is to help raise awareness and break the stigma surrounding mental health within the football community as well as the greater community.

NNSWF are committed to shining a light on mental health following the success of Mental Health Round last year.

Every Premier Competition club signed the Mental Health Pledge Banner last year, which committed clubs to fostering a culture which is inclusive, supportive and respectful. The banner has been displayed at the Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility this week.

The pledge reads “Our club is committed to fostering a culture which is inclusive, supportive and respectful. We care deeply about the mental health wellness and overall wellbeing of our players, coaches, volunteers and supporters. We will look out for each other and fall in behind those who need our support. We will consistently address behaviour which contradicts our values and undermines our culture.”

NNSWF hosted activities this week as part of Mental Health Round including presentations from broadcaster and mental health advocate Craig Hamilton and sport psychologist Fiona McCarthy while Luke Conners from #Talk2MeBro will present on Monday next week.  

If you would like to talk to someone regarding your mental health, you can contact Lifeline Hunter on 13 11 14. Their Crisis Support Line operates 24 hours per day, seven days per week. You can also speak to your GP.

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