Competitions

Herald WPL Round 3 Preview

March 24th, 2016

 

Renee Valentine

Wallsend v Mid North Coast

At The Gardens

 Sunday, March 27 – 2.15pm kick off

Wallsend have made an unbeaten start to the season and on paper look the much stronger of these two sides but coach Marc Hingston remained wary of Mid North Coast, describing them as “a bit of a bogey team”.

“We expect them to be the same as last year,” Hingston said.

“They were the improvers of last year’s competition and they can’t be taken lightly.

“They play with a lot of enthusiasm and we have spoke about them being a bit of a bogey side for teams this year if you are not on your game.”

The hosts will be without Jets player Libby Copus-Brown, who sustained a knee injury in last weekend’s 1-all draw with Adamstown.

Hingston has dropped Keely Gawthrop and Ashlee Jones to the 18s side this weekend and they will be replaced by Taylah Wilks and Casey Smith.

“We need to find a bit more energy,” Hingston said. “We lacked energy last week in the warm-up but we have trained well this week.

“We have shown some great moments in both games so far this season and we’ve just got to put in a more sustained performance.

“We played well at The Gardens in the first round, so that will give us some confidence.”

Mid North Coast registered their first point of the 2016 competition in a three-all draw with South Wallsend last weekend and should have some confidence as they embark on their first road trip of the season.

They will be without defensive midfielder Brooke Miller through unavailability and Coach Matt Baker was still deciding who would take her spot.

“It was a good step forward on the weekend but this is going to be a tough game and losing Brooke hurts,” Baker said.

“The big thing for us is when we do get a chance to score is that we do score. If we do that, we’ll give every team a hard time. We missed at least three clear chances in the first half last week.”

 

Adamstown v Warners Bay

At Adamstown No.3

Sunday, March 27 – 2.15pm kick off

 Warners Bay coach Leon Davis wants his team to “value possession a bit more” when they search for their first points of the season this weekend.

The Bay showed some promising signs in a 2-1 loss to Merewether last weekend but at times lacked cohesion and turned over the ball too readily.

“Some players have only been at a couple of training sessions and I think we’re a few weeks off where we should be and cohesion is not there yet,” Davis said.

“I want the players to look at trying to value possession a bit more and only use pace when we need it. We need to just settle down and not be as impulsive and I think we’ll do better.”

The visitors will be without central defender Laura Rapley, who was a stand-out against Merewether. Rapley is unavailable this weekend and Taylah Smith remains out through injury.

Davis suggested holding midfielder Nadja Squires could take Rapley’s position at the back and midfielder Maddy Thornton would come into the starting side.

Rosebud coach Ben Herron will be forced to do some tinkering with his line-up too after the devastating news during the week that they have lost midfielder Kate Lindsay to a season-ending knee injury.

Goalkeeper Bec Miller, who suffered her own season-ending knee injury last year, comes back into the squad after missing the first two rounds due to cricket commitments.

Adamstown have recorded a win and a draw in their first two outings of the season and will be keen to continue their undefeated start but Herron has asked for a more composed performance.

“I think the first one to get a bit of composure in midfield will go a long way to deciding it,” Herron said.

“We have got to try to maintain composure and to stay switched on rather than coming in and out.”

The game has been moved to Adamstown No.3 while Adamstown Oval undergoes work.

 

Merewether v Thornton

At Myamblah Oval

Sunday, March 27 – 2.15pm kick off

 Merewether coach Cassie Koppen will emphasise the need to conserve energy this weekend as she fields a “bare bones” squad against a full-strength Thornton.

Thornton had the bye last weekend but will buoyed by their opening-round 3-1 win over Mid North Coast as well as the knowledge they were the first team to take points off Merewether last season.

Koppen was much happier with United’s performance in a 2-1 win over Warners Bay in round two after losing to Adamstown in the season-opener but conceded it was going to be a tough assignment this weekend.

“Thornton were the first team last year to take points off us last year,” Koppen said. “They can frustrate teams and they scramble well and we’ve just got to be patient.

“They are also capable of attacking and getting forward well. Naomi Abbott scored three goals in their first game and we’ve got to make sure we shut her down.

“We have the bare 11 and we will have 18s players who will be backing up after playing a whole game already and I think we’ve just got to make sure we keep possession and try to conserve energy levels.”

Midfield lynchpin Jane McDonald is unavailable and Claire Mansfield and Carolina Cacic will miss the match through injury. Lori Depczynski and Bronte Walters return after a week out due to unavailability.

Thornton coach Alan Primmer was looking forward to the hit-out after a weekend off.

“They were the benchmark last year and a few of the girls went to watch them last weekend and said they are still polished,” Primmer said.

“They keep the ball better than most teams and put pressure on better. We will try to hit them on the break if we can and will look to keeping the ball for longer periods of time.

“They are still the team to beat but we know we competed with them last year and that will give us some confidence. The big thing for us is being another year older we want to keep improving on those little areas of the game and this week and next against Adamstown should be a pretty good indication of where we are placed.”

 

South Wallsend have the bye

 

Points table: Adamstown 4, Wallsend 4, Thornton 3, Merewether 3, South Wallsend 1, Mid North Coast 1, Warners Bay 0.

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