PHOTO: Valentine Sports Photography
Match of the Round
Wallsend v Adamstown
Sunday, April 23 2.15pm
At The Gardens
Last start: Wallsend drew 2-2 with Mid North Coast in round five; Adamstown beat Mid North Coast 5-1 in round four.
Position on ladder: Adamstown third, four points; Wallsend sixth, one point.
Squad news: There are no changes to the Wallsend squad which took on Mid North Coast, and Adamstown coach Ben Herron has everyone available except for Kate Lindsay, who is still on the comeback trail from injury.
What the coaches say: Wallsend assistant coach Strat Kapalos’s main concern for the team was getting on the pitch after another washout for the Red Devils last weekend.
He was expecting a tough match from Rosebud, despite their rivals’ lack of match time as well.
“We need to be at our best to compete with Adamstown,” Kapalos said.
“Any team led by Clare Cummings is dangerous across the park.”
Adamstown coach Ben Herron described his charges as “very keen” to play.
“The girls are itching to get back on the park,” Herron said.
“We are expecting a tough game. Every time we played them last year it was a tough, physical, hard-fought game, and we are expecting that again.
“They’ve had a couple of losses but are still a good, well-organised team and we won’t be taking them lightly.”
Bottom line: Adamstown are probably the more fancied side on performances in this one but will not have played a game in three weeks when they take the field on Sunday and that could show. It will actually be the first of three games in seven days for Adamstown, who play Merewether in a rescheduled washout on Wednesday night then host Warners Bay on Saturday. Washouts have meant neither side has had much game time and both will be raring to go. This game could be determined by whoever starts the strongest and takes control in the middle of the park but expect a fairly even arm wrestle. The outing is round one of The Friendship Cup between two of the oldest clubs in Newcastle.
Warners Bay v Mid North Coast
Sunday, April 23 2.15pm
At John Street Oval
Last start: Warners Bay lost 2-1 to Merewether in round five; Mid North Coast lost 2-1 to Merewether last Sunday.
Position on ladder: Warners Bay second, nine points; Mid North Coast fifth, four points.
Squad news: Mid North Coast will be without teenage sensation Esther Ting, who is unavailable. Coach Mick Day also has a few players under injury clouds but said they would all be given until the 11th hour to prove their fitness. Warners Bay player-coach Cassidy Davis expected to have her full squad available but said it would depend on how everyone gets through tonight’s rescheduled match against South Wallsend.
What the coaches say: Mid North Coast Mick Day has few complaints with the way his squad are travelling but was under no illusions how big a game this would be against the defending champions.
“Warners bay are a very intelligent and skilful team,” Day said.
“We are playing attractive football and building every week. We are achieving goals we set in pre-season and believe we can match it with all teams.
“The girls are looking forward to the game.”
Warners Bay player-coach Cassidy Davis was full of praise for her rivals ahead of this clash.
“We are expecting a pretty tough game,” Davis said.
“They’ve had some decent results against Merewether and Wallsend, who we had tough games against, and they are a good team with some added experience this year.”
Bottom line: Warners Bay will be backing up for this one after playing South Wallsend tonight and how they get through that match could have a bearing on this game. Mid North Coast had a lot of shots against Merewether last weekend but could not put them away. They, however, showed they can match it with the competition pace-setters and should be capable of giving Warners Bay a run for their money. This could be a tight one.
Thornton v Merewether
Sunday, April 23 2.15pm
At Thornton Park
Last start: Thornton lost 5-0 to South Wallsend in round five; Merewether beat Mid North Coast 2-1 last Sunday.
Position on ladder: Merewether first, 12 points; Thornton last, nil points.
Squad news: Merewether will welcome back Westfield W-League striker Rhali Dobson but are still without midfielder Jane McDonald, who is overseas, and suspended goalkeeper Alison Logue.
Thornton are without Luci Maddison through unavailability and Kristy Martin is still awaiting clearance to return from injury.
What the coaches say: Merewether coach Cass Koppen said they would not be taking any notice of Thornton’s last result.
“They’re a team that just keeps trying,” Koppen said.
“They defend with a lot of bodies behind the ball and they do make it difficult for teams to expose their backline and get in behind them.
“We need to pick up our game after the way we played last weekend. Obviously having Rhali back will help, but our work rate needs to improve and we have to stick to our structure a bit more and show a bit more discipline.”
Thornton coach Al Primmer wants to see his side pressing high and working hard for each other.
“We need to put more pressure on our opposition defence so our defence gets a rest; we can’t keep turning over the ball,” he said.
Primmer is also hoping for some consistent games as his team have only played three games to this point in the season due to washouts.
Bottom line: This may look on paper like the undefeated competition leaders taking on the winless bottom side but Thornton have proved many times they can match it with the likes of Merewether. The match is the first of three in eight days for United, who host Adamstown in a rescheduled fixture next Wednesday night before taking on South Wallsend in round eight. Meanwhile, Thornton have played just three matches this season due to washouts and could be slightly underdone in match fitness. That could show in the latter stages of the match. Expect a tight match early on but for Merewether to finish with a flourish.
South Wallsend have the bye
Points table: Merewether 12, Warners Bay 9, Adamstown 4, South Wallsend 4, Mid North Coast 4, Wallsend 1, Thornton 0.