Match of the Round
COOKS HILL UNITED FC v BELMONT SWANSEA UNITED
SATURDAY 7 MARCH, 6:40PM – FEARNLEY DAWES ATHLETIC FIELD
The NEWFM Northern League One returns for another year of football this weekend. As there is every year, there has been some changes in personnel across the league, from coaches to players – but one thing remains, the competitiveness and the desire for the top prize, currently held by back-to-back NEWFM Northern League One Champions Belmont Swansea United.
The first Match of the Round for this year will see the reigning champions Belmont Swansea United take on the leagues ever-present powerhouse, Cooks Hill United FC in a mammoth grand final rematch with Cooks Hill looking for some early redemption in Round 1.
Belmont Swansea will look to go for yet another back-to-back accolade and achieve the top prize for the third year running. Mick Stafford’s team has lost some quality players which help lead them to the promised land last year, but their recruitment during the off-season coupled with some quality youth players coming through the ranks looks to bolster the Champions for another solid year.
“I’m excited to see the young guys, who have been at the club for a few years, like Cameron Lodge and Joel Nicholson this season but also our new signings, in the likes of Cameron Sullini and Jack Tressider”.
Belmont Swansea Head Coach, Mick Stafford expects the intense battle that was the Grand Final in 2019 to still be present in the minds of both clubs.
“Cooks Hill will have a point to prove from the final game last year, I think the battle from the Grand Final last year will continue this year”, said Stafford.
For Cooks Hill FC, it’ all about reclaiming the dominance they have held on the competition over the years. The squad retains many of its strong core including the likes of Tom Liolio and Nick Russell, with the recruitment of Matt Williams who re-joins the NEWFM Northern League One competition to add to the attacking firepower of Cooks Hill FC.
The Black and White of Cooks Hill FC want to get in early and flex their muscle, and the opportunity to do it over the in-form Belmont Swansea FC could be the best possible way to do so.
TORONTO-AWABA FC v NEW LAMBTON FC
SATURDAY 7 MARCH, 3:00PM – LYALL PEACOCK FIELD
Toronto-Awaba’s 2019 season left a lot to be desired for the Stags, a second consecutive wooden spoon – an unwelcome title for the side, but they will be looking to shake off the cobwebs as they take on New Lambton FC.
This match-up will be an early insight on whether Toronto-Awaba can look towards their some of their experienced players in Nick Roberts and new signing, former Newcastle Jets and Lambton Jaffa’s midfielder, Jobe Wheelhouse to lift the club out of the lowlands of the competition.
However, this won’t be an easy feat for the Stags with New Lambton coming off the back of their highest ever finish in sixth spot last season. New Lambton FC’s fire power seems to be just as strong for their upcoming campaign, with the likes of goal-scoring machine Riley Taylor.
For the Eagles, it’s all about a finals birth – the club will look towards consistency as a key to their success in reaching the NEWFM Northern League One finals series in 2020, and a strong display in Round 1 will certainly kick-start that journey.
WEST WALLSEND SFC v KAHIBAH FC
SUNDAY 8 MARCH, 2:30PM – JOHNSTON PARK
West Wallsend SFC and Kahibah FC will kick-off their 2020 campaigns at Wembley this Sunday, as the Bluebells look to pick-up where they left off in 2019. A third-place finish, with only two loses on the road last season saw West Wallsend as a force to be reckoned with.
Retaining the services of 2019 Golden Boot Winner Tye Jones, alongside the dynamic midfield duo of Brendan Frost and Bailey Jensen, and the introduction of Wez Pryce – the squad looks set to wreak havoc on the competition once again.
For Kahibah FC, it has been from strength to strength. Moving from a tenth-place finish, to fifth with 2019 NEWFM Northern League One Player of the Year, Rhys Tippet leading their charge – Kahibah look to go one better this season and crack the top-four spot come finals time.
The Green and Black look poised, with the talent in their line-up and the goal in their sights, the stage is set for a fruitful season.
CESSNOCK CITY HORNETS FC v SINGLETON STRIKERS FC
SUNDAY 8 MARCH, 2:30PM – TURNER PARK
Cessnock City FC will look to open their 2020 campaign against the Singleton Strikers FC on Sunday at the home of the Hornets, Turner Park.
Cessnock City are another side looking towards consistency as a key for their season. The Hornets challenged the top-four spots last season, but a below-par finish to the year saw them drop down the table.
Greg Anderson will hope to once again lead from the back this season to continue his fantastic form for the club, alongside new defensive recruit Michael Wright from Wallsend F.C – brought in to further sure-up the Cessnock back-line.
Singleton Strikers FC will look to improve upon their last campaign. A host of injuries to key players disrupted the Strikers’ campaign while the side struggled to find consistency in their performances in 2019.
However, with captain Hayden Nichol coming off the back of a fantastic individual season, and the attacking threat of Joe Civello and Jake Barner signed on for another year, the Strikers may well do as their name sake suggests.
The potential was certainly there for Singleton last year, but can they go one better and put it all into action in their opening fixture, and step in 2020 on the right foot.
WALLSEND FC v SOUTH CARDIFF FC
SUNDAY 8 MARCH, 6:40PM – THE GARDENS
The final match-up on the opening weekend of the NEWFM Northern League One will see Wallsend FC host South Cardiff FC at The Gardens on Sunday night.
For the hosts, there has been a complete overhaul in the off-season – with new First Grade Coach Craig Tselembis putting the emphasis on youth. The Red Devils have held on to some of their key personnel in young gun, Angus Hall and club mainstay Trent Richards.
The young squad will look to bring pride back to the oldest club competing in Northern NSW Football Premier Competitions.
For South Cardiff FC, there is a great mix of quality attackers and defenders. The recruitment of attacker Alex Tserepas, South Cardiff will be jubilant with last seasons results, but will be determined to go one better in the new campaign.
The Gunners look to boast exceptional depth in their squad, which can only assist them in retaining that top-four spot for another season – and of course, they will be aiming to push even further up the ladder in 2020.