Merewether v Warners Bay
Sunday, May 8, 2.15pm
At Myamblah Crescent
Last start: Merewether drew 0-0 with Wallsend in round 7; Warners Bay beat Mid North Coast 6-0 in round 7.
Last time they met: Merewether won 3-0 in round 2.
Position on ladder: Merewether second (13 points), Warners Bay fourth (10).
Opposing coaches Cassie Koppen and Leon Davis agree ruthlessness in front of goal will determine this match.
Both sides are defensively sound – Merewether have not conceded a goal since round one and Warners Bay have not been scored against since the fourth round – so this match is likely to be determined by who is most clinical in the final third.
When these two sides last met early in the round, Merewether won 3-0 but it was Warners Bay’s first outing of the season and they have improved a lot since. The Bay now boast the league’s best attacking record, scoring 18 goals in six games.
“Warners Bay seem to be on fire at the moment and they’re certainly getting far better results now,” Koppen said.
“I would expect Cassidy [Davis] and AJ [Adriana Jones] to run the show for them, so we will look to shut them down.
“And we need to capitalise on our chances.”
Warners Bay have scored 16 of their goals in the past three matches and Davis expected them to give a better account of themselves than the last time they played Merewether.
“Since then we’re a bit more confident, I suppose they are too yet I think we had further to come,” Davis said.
“This round will be a test of where we really sit in the scheme of things.”
The game will be Merewether’s second in just four weeks due to the bye round and a washed-out match and Warners Bay are coming off the bye.
Merewether back up against Adamstown on Tuesday night in a much-anticipated top-of-the-table showdown.
Warners Bay are without Maddie Smith for five weeks but her twin sister Taylah Smith comes back into the mix after missing the first round of the season through injury.
Wallsend v Adamstown
Sunday, May 8, 2.15pm
At The Gardens
Last start: Wallsend defeated Thornton 7-1 last week in a rescheduled match; Adamstown downed Mid North Coast 4-2 last Saturday.
Last time they met: They drew 1-1 in round 2.
Position on ladder: Adamstown first (16), Wallsend third with (12).
Adamstown are preparing for what could possibly turn out to be a season-defining week.
They play third-placed Wallsend on Sunday, back up against second-placed Merewether Tuesday night then take on fourth-placed Warners Bay in round 10.
If they continue their unbeaten start to the season through a tough eight days they will be in a commanding position in the race for the minor premiership.
But Rosebud coach Ben Herron said they were not getting ahead of themselves.
“It is going to be a testing time for us and it’s an old cliché but we’ve just got to get through one game at a time,” Herron said.
“We are looking good for the weekend and hopefully we remain injury free. We will make use of our squad in the next week.”
Adamstown avoided a weekend double-header when their top-of-the-table clash with Merewether was washed out last Sunday. They beat Mid North Coast 4-2 on Saturday after trailing 2-1 at the break in what Herron described as “the ugliest game I’ve seen from my girls”.
Wallsend have also made an unbeaten start to the season and these two sides could not be separated last time they met.
The Red Devils will move to within a point of Adamstown with a win over the league pace-setters on Sunday. They then back up against South Wallsend on Wednesday night before travelling to Taree to do battle with Mid North Coast in round 10.
Wallsend coach Marc Hingston described the match as being “a momentum shift for us”.
“They could go seven points clear of us if they win or we could move within a point of them If we win,” Hingston acknowledged.
Both sides should be at full strength for the clash.
South Wallsend v Mid North Coast
Sunday, May 8, 2.15pm
At Walker Fields
Last start: South Wallsend beat Thornton 2-1 in round 7; Mid North Coast lost 4-0 to Mid North Coast last weekend.
Last time they met: They drew 3-3 in round 2.
Position on ladder: South Wallsend sixth (4), Mid North Coast last with (1).
South Wallsend have been on a recruitment drive this week and are looking to capitalise on their first win of the season in their last outing.
South Wallsend downed Thornton 2-1 in round seven but were unable to continue their momentum when their round-eight clash with Wallsend was washed out last weekend.
But player-coach Elyce Bates said a triple signing this week had sent a good vibe through the squad.
Former Matildas midfielder Amber Neilson has joined South Wallsend, along with National Premier League player Erin Wilson and former Emerging Jets goalkeeper Darcie Bell.
“Amber Neilson has had two years out with work commitments but she came to training on Tuesday night and she is such a classy player,” Bates said.
“Erin Wilson is a striker and she is super fit and fast. Darcie gives us some competition for our goalkeeping position and we should have a good crew this weekend.
“It would be nice to go in with two wins before we play Wallsend [on Wednesday night], and things are looking good for Sunday.”
Mid North Coast played a double-header last weekend, going down 4-2 to Adamstown after leading the competition pace-setters 2-1 at half-time, then they ran out of legs in a 4-0 loss to Thornton on Sunday.
Thornton – bye
Herald WPL Points table: Adamstown 16, Merewether 13, Wallsend 12, Warners Bay 10, Thornton 6, South Wallsend 4, Mid North Coast 1.