Herald WPL Round 14 Review

June 17th, 2019




Match of the Round

Merewether United 4 (Rhali Dobson 2, Courtney Anderson, Indianna Asimus) def. South Wallsend 0

Sunday 16 June, 2.30pm, Myamblah Oval

Merewether claimed revenge at Myamblah Oval, nipping South Wallsend’s eight-game winning streak in the bud as a four-minute salvo gave United the 4-0 win.

Despite reversing their fortunes from the first-round, where the Wolves downed the defending champions 9-0 at the beginning of their hot-streak that saw them charge to second place, Merewether “weren’t thinking about it,” Cass Koppen revealed.

Instead, the championship coach said her side had been more focused on collecting three key points against another team that would be battling for a top four spot once finals eventually appeared on the horizon.

“We didn’t even speak about last game, the majority of our players didn’t even play in it and we can’t count that result if we don’t have the personnel,” Koppen said. “It’s much more important for us to just get results against teams like Southy, and keep our foot in the door.”

Courtney Anderson cracked open the game at Myamblah after both teams were locked at nil-all in the first half. She slipped in behind the Wolves’ defence and put Merewether ahead. The opener “rattled them,” Koppen said, and gave her side the chance they needed to put the game beyond reach.

Rhali Dobson struck next, two minutes after Anderson’s first in the 51st minute. First, the W-League star slotted home a header from a lofted corner in the 53rd, before squaring one home a minute later to double her haul. Indianna Asimus iced the game with a fourth late.

While four goals sunk their travelling rivals, Koppen said a bolstered backline was the key to claiming three points at home on Sunday afternoon.

“The most positive thing was that we strengthened our backline and defence, we didn’t concede a goal which is something that we’ve struggled with against the bigger teams so far this season,” she said.

“We adjusted our formation a bit, but having Katy [Grey] come back into the side made a massive difference as well. She’s a big leader, and she just shored up the defence in a big. Between that, a big desire to win, we got the job done at the front, and the back.”

After taking advantage of Merewether’s missing players last time they faced each other, it was South Wallsend that limped into battle this time around. After nearly completing the second-round undefeated, absences have taken their toll on the now-third placed squad.

The Wolves began their 4-0 defeat without stars Kirsty Antoni, Koby Ferguson, and Maddie Thornton, and lost both Ash Brodigan and Erin Wilson as the 90 minutes played out at Myamblah. With so many players missing already, South Wallsend boss Cas Wright said she was in all but damage control in the Round 14 game on Sunday.

“We ended up with seven first-graders out on the field at the end of the game, so the result was maybe expected because of that,” she said.

“There was a five-minute period where three of their goals were scored. It’s a big ask for players who have already had a game, and reserve players settling into the top grade, to come back from that kind of thing.

“It was always going to be hard with the players that we had out, so a lot of what I was looking for was how the girls coped with that. We had some stuff to work on in that perspective, but it’s our first loss in eight games, so now we’ll just look at how we can regroup going forward.”


Adamstown Rosebuds 1 (Elodie Dagg) drew. Wallsend 1 (Libby Copus-Brown)

Sunday 16 June, 2.30pm, Adamstown No.1 Oval

After Adamstown and Wallsend closed out their match at No.1 Oval all tied up at one goal apiece, both coaches said they believed it was a “fair result” considering how closely matched each club had been in Round 14.

There was nothing that could separate the sixth-placed Rosebuds and the fifth-placed Red Devils as they both looked to collect three points. Not even in the manner of goals scored. First, Elodie Dagg slotted home a penalty for the hosts, before Libby Copus-Brown did the same for Wallsend to tie up proceedings.

Despite walking away with just a single point for their efforts, Paul Devitis said Adamstown could be “proud” of their improvement. After losing to the Red Devils 5-1 last time out, to keep things square at No.1 showed a change of fortunes for the Buds.

“For us, it’s not about the table, and points, it’s about getting the performances on the park and close results. Heaps of times this year there’s been blowouts that don’t show how competitive we’ve been, and we’re right on track to fixing that now,” Devitis said.

“A result like this today against a good team reaffirms we are a good team too, and that we can compete with teams above us on the table. One major element of that too has been our defensive improvement. With a few out we’ve been played into consistency, and it’s helping.

“Last week we could have kept a clean sheet but for the very end, and then this week it was just a penalty that broke us down. Elly Cook, Isabel Lauina, and our goalkeeper Olivia Sneddon have all been massive in that for us, it’s great to see.”

Travelling coach Brad Jones was in agreement with Devitis in that the locked score-draw was a “fair estimate” of how both teams played on Sunday afternoon. An element of desperation, he said, led Adamstown to “win more ball,” and that didn’t give Wallsend room to move when it came to pushing forward.

Despite that, Jones said he was happy with how his girls played out the match and said the chances – “enough to win ten games” – not taken may have hurt the team’s odds when it came to walking away from the road game with three points.

“It was a fair indication of the game, they had chances, as did we, and they could have pinched it there at the end. It was a bit of a scrappy game, and 1-1 kind of showed that,” Jones said after the league’s second draw of the year.

“They beat us to a lot of balls, and we were slow to react. To their credit, they were more desperate than us. It wasn’t champagne football out on the pitch, and I’m a bit disappointed in our performances, but Adamstown made sure we had to play like that. I pay credit to them for that, they were in it for a fight, and very up for it.

“We created enough chances to win ten games, but they didn’t get into the back of the net, and you can’t not take those,” he added. “The efforts, and what the girls did, was all still very good, so there’s plenty to be happy about. We just have to finish chances if we want to win.”


Thornton Redbacks 2 (Ainsleigh Childs, Nikita Bestwick) def. by New Lambton 12 (Tara Andrews 4, Lauren Allan 3, Stacey Day 2, Jenna Kennedy, Sophie Jones, Emmeline Pepper)

Sunday 16 June, 2.30pm, Thornton Park

A goal-fest awaited Thornton and New Lambton on Sunday afternoon, as the Redbacks welcomed the league leaders to Thornton Park in their Round 14 meeting.

The two sides scored more goals than any of the other results this round in just their first half, as the Eagles pulled ahead to a 4-2 lead in the first 45 minutes. Then New Lambton seemed to flick a switch in the second half, as a rain of eight goals pushed them out to a 12-2 win.

After dropping points for the first time this season last time out, New Lambton was clearly edging to return to the winner’s circle. It was a far cry from the 3-2 win they chalked over the Redbacks in the first round, and one that Keelan Hamilton said came down to “discipline,” and “getting back on track”.

“We did some really good things, particularly in the second half,” the Eagles boss said. “In the first half, we weren’t as clinical, or as disciplined, as we wanted to be.

“The team lifted their standard a lot in the second half, which let us run away with the game. We combined well in the midfield and the front third, which allowed us to release our wingers, and everything clicked for us to be able to get eight in the second.”

Tara Andrews scored four more to bring her season tally to 24 goals after the opening fourteen rounds and keeping her two ahead of Jenna Kingsley (22) and Ashlee Brodigan (19) in the race for the golden boot. Lauren Allan, who herself sits fifth in the goalscoring race behind Rhali Dobson (17), claimed a hat-trick at Thornton Park.

Stacey Day also contributed two in the 10-goal rout, while Jenna Kennedy, Sophie Jones, Emmeline Pepper all added their names to the scoresheet over the course of the 90 minutes.

“There were lots of goals, it was pretty good overall,” Hamilton added. “To Thornton’s credit, they got the lead at 1-nil and really brought the game to us. One of theirs, Ainsleigh [Childs], scored a really good goal in the first half. It definitely wasn’t a game either team sat back defensively in, and Thornton gave a really good account of themselves.”


Football Mid North Coast 0 def. by Warners Bay 4 (Jenna Kingsley 2, Cassidy Davis, Sophie Stapleford)

Sunday 16 June, 2.30pm, Wayne Richards Park

Warners Bay have reclaimed second after results elsewhere went their way as they scored a 4-0 win over Football Mid North Coast in Port Macquarie in Round 14.

It was a good start to life at the helm of the team as well for Craig Atkins, who has taken over the Panthers top grade squad for the remainder of the season. After slipping to New Lambton two rounds ago, Warners Bay have collected six points from six on offer, and given Atkins a short run of form to work with as he sets about guiding the Panthers back to the final.

The bundle of goals scored, as well as the clean sheet, were the positives the Panthers were taking out of their victory at Wayne Richards Park on Sunday, captain Cassidy Davis said.

“We were really happy to get the clean sheet and score a few more, so it’s all looking good for us going forward,” she said. “The whole team had some really good passages of play, and credit to Middies because they managed to keep us man-marked and frustrated for a lot of the game and we had to break that away to actually get into their defence.”

Considering results like Merewether’s 4-0 against the then-placed second South Wallsend, and Adamstown’s 1-1 draw against their table rivals, Davis said she was “pleased” that Warners Bay could avoid the potential slip that has been Mid North Coast at times this year.

“Looking at everything that happened this round, it shows that anyone can lose, and results can go against you when you’re not expecting it,” she said.

“Because of that, and seeing Southy and Wallsend both go down, it shows how close everything is going to be at the end of the season. It makes it really important that we keep winning, and we’ve done that. We just need to stay near the top of the table, and we can aim for that strong semi in the finals if we keep these results up.”

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