Match of the Round
Newcastle Olympic v Broadmeadow Magic
Darling Street Oval – Sunday 3pm
It is a traditional derby we are not used to seeing in the Herald Women’s Premier League but one we can expect to be a high quality and entertaining fixture.
Each time Newcastle Olympic and Broadmeadow Magic meet in the NPL Northern NSW, it is a match previewed in cafes by footballing pundits and well attended by long-term supporters.
Expect Sunday afternoon’s Herald Women’s Premier Leagues match to be no different.
“I expect the girls to step up against [Newcastle Olympic],” Magic coach Jake Curley said.
“The squad seems to be in a great headspace, competitive and focused. They’ve proven they can fight to come back from behind, this week. I want to see them fight to maintain a lead.”
As reported by the Newcastle Herald earlier in the week, Adriana Jones has parted ways with Broadmeadow Magic. Her loss, while significant, will provide further opportunity for a number of other rising stars, including Lucy Jerram.
“I expect the girls will step up to face them. They’re competitors and love a challenge. Although, now they have a few games under their belts, I think they will fight for each other,” Curley said.
Sunday afternoon’s clash will be the first of five in 15 days for the women in red. Curley believes the side is well equipped to deal with the successive fixtures.
“Preparation and balance is key, altering our schedule to suit the workload,” Curley said.
“Recovery sessions, using physios and changing training should manage the risk of injury. There’s more on our plate but it’s business as usual.”
Newcastle Olympic sit on top of the Herald Women’s Premier League table, equal with Warners Bay on points but with a far superior goal difference of +17.
The women from Darling Street Oval also have a game in hand against Thornton, which has been rescheduled for Thursday, 6 August.
It is not all good news for Olympic however, with Stacey Day set to miss the remainder of the season due to a knee injury suffered against Adamstown in round four.
New Lambton Eagles v Thornton Redbacks
Arthur Edden Oval – Sunday 3pm
When you take a look at round six, each and every game has significance.
Whether it be the fight for the lead, a scramble not to slide out of the top four or, in the case of this match, a battle to stay within striking distance of finals qualification.
New Lambton and Thornton sit seventh and eighth respectively on the table but, according to Eagles coach Brad Jones, it is not through a lack of determination or desire.
“I think there was a lot to like about what we did [against Warners Bay on Saturday]. In my opinion we were the far better side without getting a result,” Jones said.
“There’s positive in the fact that the girls can see that what we’re doing is working. And they can understand there’s a few things we’ve got to improve on.”
The final third has proved frustrating for Jones, who believes goals will come for his young side.
“The fact that the way that we’re playing, we’re only missing that one element which is pleasing to me, given the age of the squad we’re actually using,” Jones said.
“I’ve got a tremendous bunch of girls and I just think we’re missing that final killer instinct as far as the final third is concerned.
“That’s just got to be something you’ve got to be patient and develop over time… they’ve got to pick that moment and back themselves.”
New Lambton and Warners Bay were the only two sides to see action last weekend, with the Eagles fortunate to now avoid a run of catch-up fixtures.
There was so such luck for Thornton, who will back up from Sunday’s fixture to take on Newcastle Olympic on Thursday, before three more games in quick succession.
“Five games in two weeks will test depth but for us it’s the old cliché of Sunday is the only game that is important at the moment,” Thornton coach Alan Primmer said.
“New Lambton will be well drilled. We need to concentrate on our first touch which was poor against Warners Bay and second efforts will be a key.
“We did a bit of watching for a result against Warners Bay as well, instead of making it happen and fall our way.”
Warners Bay v Merewether United
John Street Oval – Sunday 3pm
Sunday’s match-up between old enemies Warners Bay and Merewether shapes as an early contender for match of the season.
A quick look back through the archives and it is hard to avoid the enthralling battles held between these two sides over the last four years.
“We’ve got a few girls who have been there over the years and been a part of those battles with Merewether and we always tend to lift for the clash,” Panthers coach Craig Atkins said.
Warners Bay is expected to be unchanged for the game at John Street Oval after they came off a torrid run of three games in seven days, culminating in a win over New Lambton on Saturday.
“We just went and did a body balance and Yoga session last night…. obviously after the hectic week last week we just wanted to have a lighter session,” Atkins said.
“It’s going to be a tough contest. It always tends to be close and there always seems to be lots of goals.”
Jen Hoy will once again start for the home side as she settles into the local competition.
“We’ve still got combination work to be done with Jen and the players around her,” Atkins said.
“We’re focusing on some things we need to improve on and that’ll be the target for Sunday.”
A loss for Merewether could see them slip out of the top four. Heading into round six, they are just one point clear of fourth-placed Adamstown.
“It’ll just be really important for us to get a win against Warners Bay. If we don’t, we’re in danger of dropping out of the top four… we want to stay near the top,” Merewether coach Scott Ellis said.
“We’re really looking forward to playing Warners Bay.”
Midfielder Sarah Bergin will miss the clash for the Lammas, who like everyone have had a disrupted week on the training pitch due to rain.
“We got a session in on Tuesday at an indoor facility. A little bit of stretching the legs,” Ellis said.
“The group as a whole are all pretty fit…. I’m pretty confident that if we end up needing to play a few games in quick succession we’ll be able to deal with that.”
Mid Coast FC v Adamstown Rosebud
Taree Zone Field – Sunday 3pm
Mid Coast will be hoping to move into the top four when they play fourth-placed Adamstown at Taree Zone Field on Sunday.
Middies sit sixth on the table but are just one-point shy of Rosebud.
“I anticipate that we’ll play very similar types of football,” Mid Coast coach Mick Grass said.
“We’ve worked on the way that we want to get results. As far as I’m concerned in football the journey is as important as the destination, so it will be stick to the process.
“Hopefully at the end of that we’ll get the result as well.”
Mid Coast are expected to be full strength for the clash, which Grass believes will be won or lost in the midfield.
“I’ll be looking to our midfielders. We’ve got a very young midfield, I think they’re all 16, so I’ll be looking to the midfield to really step up and control things,” Grass said.
“I think we will be all sweet. [We’ve got] a couple of niggly injuries but nothing that’s going to keep anyone out of the weekend.”
Sunday’s clash will be the first of three in quick succession for the Buds, who had their weekend match against Broadmeadow rained out.
“I think the girls are excited to get back playing and looking forward to having three games coming up in a short amount of time,” Adamstown coach Ryan Campbell said.
Olivia Sneddon will miss the game due to an ankle injury suffered against Newcastle Olympic almost a fortnight ago, while Campbell has identified Kimmy Trappett as a player to watch this weekend.
“I am hoping that Kimmy Trappett can step up this weekend in a tight game and make a difference to the score line as I don’t think we have seen her best yet so far since we have returned from COVID,” Campbell said.
“She is a player I have a lot of confidence in.
“I will just ask the girls to go out and make a statement to the other teams in the competition with what they do in the game.”