Match of the Round
Newcastle Olympic 5-1 Warners Bay FC
Newcastle Olympic started its title defence with a dominant win in round one of the Herald Women’s Premier League at the weekend.
Visitors Warners Bay were left to chase the game after a long range shot from Olympic handed the home side the advantage.
A well-executed attacking raid down the left-hand edge delivered the home side its second after a tussle in the box saw a deflection find the back of the net.
“It was still a very tough game despite the score line,” Olympic coach Harmonie Attwill said.
“Warners Bay are always a very tough side to play against so we knew that we had to be clinical and it was really positive to see the number of goal scorers in the team.
“I thought it was a very strong performance across the park.”
The 10 minutes that followed was impressive as Olympic added two more goals to the score. The first was a spectacular long-range effort, with the second just as clinical to make the score 4-0.
“I think for the players at this point it is really about trying to find that confidence in themselves to execute,” Attwill said.
“After we settled into the game a little bit the girls were confident, they were willing to take risks.”
Olympic added a fifth and final goal in the second half, with Attwill impressed with the performance across the park.
“We have the depth and we have players who have already shown early on that they want to stand up and be counted,” she said.
It was a disastrous start to the season for the Panthers who were simply outclassed in the first half before a far superior second stanza saw the side return to an established shape.
“It was very disappointing. We knew how they would begin the game with the intensity,” Panthers coach Craig Atkins said.
“We played them in a trial game and they did exactly the same thing. We didn’t adapt on Saturday and they scored a couple of bombs, which were quality strikes.
“We went to half-time and we just said we’ve got the option here. This is going to be a true test of character, so we just needed to stick together and get back to the way we play.
“We went right away from what we do, so we just spoke about that at half-time and the girls responded in the second half.
“The second half we just got back to our structures, we played what we’ve been working on in the off-season.”
Captain Elodie Dagg was the only Warners Bay player to find the back of the net in the four-goal defeat, with Atkins full of praise for the midfielder.
“She was everywhere, absolutely fantastic. She led be example,” he said.
Olympic next face Broadmeadow Magic following the Easter long weekend, while the Panthers turn their attention to New Lambton.
New Lambton FC 0-2 Adamstown Rosebud JFC
Adamstown Rosebud started the 2021 season on a high with a two-goal win over their closest neighbour New Lambton on Saturday afternoon.
Played at Newcastle’s No.2 Sportsground, the Ryan Campbell-coached Rosebud looked well-composed as they took control against the Eagles.
Goals to Ella Spicer and Kiarra Lewis were enough to secure all three points on the opening weekend, with the performance full of positives for the Buds.
“I thought we performed okay for our first game. There were lots of nerves and a very different field to play on made it a different type of game,” Campbell said.
“Jorjia Hogg had a great game moving from midfield to centre back filling in for Rachel Duffin being injured.”
The Easter break provides each side with an opportunity to refine their approach, with attacking prowess an opportunity for improvement at Adamstown Oval.
“We need to be better around the box. We wasted a lot of chances and were not clinical enough when we had our chances,” Campbell said.
“We will work on our ability to finish quickly when in the box so that players can stay composed and be more capable in those moments.”
It was a luckless start to the year for New Lambton, who struggled to convert when opportunities arose.
“We definitely created our chances. We were defensively a lot more sound. Overall it was a much better performance,” Eagles coach Greg Lowe said.
“There’s another 20 games to go so nothing to stress about.
“There’s definitely potential. There are some very good attacking players as well, so we’ve just got to keep working on unlocking their potential.
“Young Macy Anthony had some good moments on Saturday. Adriana Jones had a couple of good moments and also our centre back Brooke Miller.”
Jones looked dangerous on the ball, though lacked service as New Lambton struggled to maintain possession against a well-drilled Adamstown side.
“When you have someone like AJ in the team you want to get her on the ball as much as possible. She is a marquee player for us so it would be silly not to try and get her involved more,” Lowe said.
The Eagles will be hoping for better fortune in a fortnight when they meet Warners Bay. Their round two match-up is followed by clashes against Newcastle Olympic and Broadmeadow Magic.
“Our focus will just be building on attacking combinations for the next two weeks,” Lowe said.
“Every team is beatable and every team can beat you. For me, it’s just making sure that we keep gelling as a unit.”
Adamstown host Mid Coast FC at Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility in round two.
Maitland FC 2-5 Broadmeadow Magic
Broadmeadow Magic proved too good for Maitland as the Magpies made their debut in the Herald Women’s Premier League on Sunday.
Ash Brodigan scored a hat-trick as Magic cruised to a 5-2 win at Cooks Square Park, with former Merewether goalkeeper Alison Logue making her debut in Broadmeadow colours.
“I think you can tell that we haven’t played many games together. We’re still sort of working on our combinations. [But] the girls’ shape was pretty good,” Magic coach Jake Curley said.
“Defending I thought we were pretty good. I think Alison Louge makes a massive difference, just the confidence and all-round game management.”
The challenge doesn’t get any easier for the women in red, who meet defending champions Newcastle Olympic after the Easter long weekend. Curley was confident his side had what it took to topple Olympic.
“I was happy with how we were in the final third. We created a lot of chances,” he said.
“Some of our defensive structure we need to work on a little bit but that will just come as people become familiar playing with each other.
“Wednesday night the girls will train at Speers Point, then on Thursday night we will do 11 v 11 against our reserves then they’ll be back in Monday, Wednesday, Thursday next week.”
Maitland showed strong signs despite the defeat, with former New Lambton defender Kaitlin Radstaak and Thornton regular Ainsley Childs finding the back of the net.
“We started the game well and caused a few problems for them on transition but we got too deep after we conceded the opening goal which invited some unnecessary pressure,” Maitland coach Keelan Hamilton said.
“The takeaway from Sunday was that our performance from a football aspect was decent. Despite some key errors in big moments which affected the scoreline, we competed okay.
“Against good teams you get punished for errors and we learnt that lesson on Sunday.”
Maitland meet Charlestown Azzurri in round two.
“The focus is to keep improving our process,” Hamilton said.
“We need to tidy a few areas defensively and also keep working on our cohesion going forward. That’s our fifth game ever so we have a huge amount of improvement in us.”