Sunday, August 9, 2pm
Match of the Round
Thornton v Valentine at Thornton Park
Meetings this season: Thornton won 4-3 in round 6, Valentine won 4-0 in round 13
Last start: Thornton drew 0-0 with Adamstown on Wednesday night; Valentine lost 2-0 to Merewether last weekend
Position on ladder: Thornton fifth (22 points); Valentine third (40 points)
Thornton will hold their collective breath as they wait for the result of Mid North’s Coast’s rescheduled match with Merewether on Saturday.
The Redbacks and Mid North Coast are vying for the last semi-finals position – Merewether, Adamstown and Valentine have the top-three spots sewn up.
Thornton moved within a point of Mid North Coast with a 0-0 draw against Adamstown on Wednesday night and now need to beat Valentine and rely on Mid North Coast losing both games in a weekend double-header.
But if Mid North Coast were to cause an upset against minor premiers Merewether on Saturday then the Redbacks’ fate would already be sealed.
Meanwhile, Valentine will be keen to return to the winners’ circle before their semi-final showdown with Adamstown.
Phoenix’s 2-0 loss to United last weekend was their first loss since round 14, which was also against Merewether.
Thornton were without Celeste Ortega-Edwards (foot injury) on Wednesday night but Primmer was hopeful of her return for this weekend.
Adamstown v South Wallsend at Adamstown No.1 Oval
Meetings this season: Adamstown won 2-0 in round 6 and 8-0 in round 13
Last start: Adamstown drew 0-0 with Thornton last night; South Wallsend beat Warners Bay 2-0 last weekend
Position on ladder: Adamstown second (41 points); South Wallsend sixth (20 points)
It would take some kind of miracle and a range of mathematical permutations but South Wallsend coach Marc Hingston has not given up hope of clinching fourth place and a semi-finals spot.
For that to happen, South Wallsend would need to beat Adamstown for the first time this season plus rely on Thornton losing to Valentine and Mid North Coast sustaining heavy losses to Merewether and Warners Bay in their weekend double-header. Mid North Coast have a far superior goal difference to South Wallsend.
“It would be a minor miracle if we got there but where there is light there is hope,” Hingston said.
South Wallsend will be without key players Laura Hall and Abbie Heffernan but Hingston said their absence gives some younger players the chance to step up.
“We’ve got a lot of confidence from what we did last week [in beating Warners Bay 2-0] and I have said to girls this is a real opportunity for the younger ones to stand up and prove they belong in this comp,” Hingston said.
Adamstown, who are coming off a 3-1 loss to Wallsend last Sunday and a scoreless draw with Thornton on Wednesday night, will be well understrength for the clash.
Key strike weapon Lauren Allen has left for the United States college system, Olivia Trinka has a suspected broken arm from Wednesday night and coach John Jiggins said he will rest Clare Cummings, who has accumulated four yellow cards and risks a suspension if she gets another.
“It’s every man to the wheel now,” Jiggins said.
Warners Bay v Mid North Coast at John Street Oval
Meetings this season: Warners Bay won 4-1 in round 6; Mid North Coast won 4-2 in round 13
Last start: Warners Bay lost 2-0 to South Wallsend, Mid North lost 2-0 to Thornton
Position on ladder: Warners Bay last (13 points); Mid North Coast fourth (23 points)
Mid North Coast coach Matt Baker conceded “playing back-to-back games is never easy” and said his players will need to be mentally switched on if they are to get a result out of the weekend.
Mid North Coast are stuck in a two-way tussle with Thornton for the last semi-finals spot.
Mid North Coast play minor premiers Merewether in a rescheduled washed-out match on Saturday then back up against an improving Warners Bay on Sunday. They hold a one-point buffer over Thornton.
“Merewether won’t want to be taking a step backwards going into the final but if we could get a draw out of that game, it would give our girls a lot of confidence going into Sunday,” Baker said.
Warners Bay are rooted to the bottom of the competition ladder but have plenty of incentive to win themselves – to try to avoid the wooden spoon.
“Basically it comes down to, do they want to come last or have a chance of coming second-last,” Davis said of his side.
“The incentive to win is for our pride and for the hard work they’ve put in for the past six or seven weeks.”
Mid North Coast will be without central defender and key player Amanda Armstrong for both games and will be missing Niki Bestwick on Saturday.
Davis was not sure how many fit players he would have for the clash. Corinne Gale returns from suspension and Tulia Palozzi is in doubt through injury.
Merewether v Wallsend at Myamblah Oval
Meetings this season: Merewether won 3-1 in round 6 and 6-3 in round 13
Last start: Merewether beat Valentine 2-0; Wallsend beat Adamstown 3-1
Position on ladder: Merewether first (48 points); Wallsend seventh (16 points)
Merewether coach Cassie Koppen will rotate her squad during a weekend double-header against Mid North Coast and Wallsend but will still be gunning for two good wins heading into the semi-finals.
Captain Lori Depczynski hurt her hamstring in the warm-up against Valentine last week, Sarah Halvorsen came off after 10 minutes with an Achilles complaint and Sophie Jones and Shannon Day both had ankle complaints after the match.
Koppen said she will not risk anyone ahead of the semi-finals if they are not 100 per cent fit and was planning to promote several under-18 players for some experience.
“We still want to keep momentum going and obviously still want to win but it is a fine line between that and preserving the side for the semis,” Koppen said.
Wallsend coach Keely Gawthrop said morale was high heading into their final game if year.
“There’s been a good vibe at training coming off the win over Adamstown last week,” Gawthrop said.
“It might be a little bit too late but we’ve had a pretty shocking season and for the long term it’s more important to come off positively with a win under our belts and with a performance that shows them they will need to watch out for the Red Devils next year.
Wallsend will be without Casey Lee Smith through unavailability.
Points table: Merewether 48, Adamstown 41, Valentine 40, Mid North Coast 23, Thornton 22, South Wallsend 20, Wallsend 16, Warners Bay 13.