PHOTO: VALENTINE SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
Adamstown v Merewether (3 v 2)
At Adamstown Oval
Sunday, August 6, 2.15pm
Last start: Adamstown beat Wallsend 7-0 and Merewether beat Thornton 7-0 last Sunday.
This season: Played three times. Merewether won 6-0 on April 26 and 9-1 on May 7; Adamstown won 3-2 on June 25.
Squad news: Adamstown have lost Lauren Allan, who is headed back to the United States where she is studying and playing college football. Merewether should be at full strength.
What the coaches say: Merewether coach Cassie Koppen expected a typical “fast and furious” finals match.
“The last time we played them they gave us no time on the ball,” Koppen said.
“They’ve got a lot of pace and will have some confidence from last time.
“We’re going to need to dictate the tempo of the game and remain composed, and it’s going to be important to get a couple of goals.”
Adamstown coach Lou D’Amico said the loss of Allan was huge but had “faith in whoever is selected this weekend”.
“They’re the favourites in my eyes; they’ve got firepower all over the park,” D’Amico said.
“I’m extremely proud of our girls, the way they have turned the season around to get to this point.”
Bottom line: Adamstown continue to be a team that never gives up. They lost several key players in the off-season after claiming the minor premiership last season then sustained some big losses before former coach Ben Herron stepped aside. Lou D’Amico has taken over and the players have rallied, led by never-say-die leader Clare Cummings, who celebrated her own milestone this year of 100 first-grade games in WPL for Rosebud. She has had plenty of support in the likes of Elodie Dagg and Emily Frost and they have turned around their season in true Rosebud fashion. Lauren Allan is a huge loss – she scored 16 goals in eight appearances this season – but discount this side at your peril. Merewether are strong across the park and they have experienced heads on many shoulders. They feature two Westfield W-League players in Rhali Dobson and Grace Macintyre, former W-League goalkeeper Alison Logue, and a raft of talented players, who move the ball around fluidly and with composure. Jane McDonald controls the tempo of the game and Jamee Ellis is lethal off set pieces. A game that promises to have fans on the edge of their seats. Some quality football expected here.
Mid North Coast v Warners Bay (4 v 1)
At Taree Zone Field
Saturday, August 5, 2.15pm
Last start: Warners Bay beat Mid North Coast 2-1 last Sunday.
This season: Warners Bay won 3-2 on April 23, 9-2 on July 1 and 2-1 last Sunday.
Squad news: Mid North Coast are at full strength while Warners Bay are still without Sophie Stapleford through injury and Sass Seaborn remains in doubt through injury.
What the coaches say: Mick Day said Mid North Coast “still have some tricks up our sleeve” as they prepared to host the Premiers and defending champions.
“Our entire squad and supporters are honoured to be in the finals, in probably the best season of WPL,” Day said.
“It is by no chance that we are here after selecting this squad and working hard since pre-season. We have conquered goals we set and now everything resets for finals.
“We may be considered underdogs, but we are dangerous and are playing smart, awesome football.
“This week’s preparation for us is about recovery and focus.
“Cassidy is a great coach and player with good players around her and we congratulate them on their premiership this season.
“However, we were only a dot shot from them, so get down to sportsbet and throw $100 on our Coast girls.”
Warners Bay player-coach Cassidy Davis wants to see “more effort and enthusiasm” after what she felt was a lacklustre performance by her side last weekend.
“They’re going to come out with nothing to lose and we’re expecting a tough match,” Davis said.
“The main thing for us is to forget about last week and concentrate on what we want to do.
“The main things will be to show a bit more enthusiasm and effort in how we play because I don’t think we did that last week, and that’s what I’ll be asking for, as well as that want to win.
“We’ll also be looking to score some goals, the more the better before we return home for the second leg.”
Bottom line: Mid North Coast have always been known to be enthusiastic, relentless and with speed to burn. This year they have welcomed the addition of experienced WPL players in Shannon Day, Sophie Jones and Imogene Tomasone. There is no way to deny it – they are the underdogs here but they showed in the first meeting between these two sides this season and again last weekend they could match it with the competition heavyweights. If they can keep W-League players Jenna Kingsley and Cassidy Davis quiet this game could go either way. Mid North Coast should also lift on home soil.