NPL Men’s NNSW Round 18 Preview: Azzurri look to take advantage in title race

July 8th, 2022

 James Paras

Valentine Sports Photography

Charlestown Azzurri v Adamstown Rosebud
Lisle Carr Oval, Saturday 2pm

Charlestown Azzurri will come into this weekend with the sole purpose of reclaiming top spot when they host Adamstown Rosebud on Saturday.

Charlestown are second, only behind Broadmeadow Magic on goal difference. But with Broadmeadow’s game against stumbling Maitland already postponed, Azzurri have a chance to take advantage.

Azzurri remains the only unbeaten side in the competition and have further bolstered their star-studded squad after welcoming former Newcastle Jets defender Taylor Regan and former NPL Men’s NNSW player of the year Rene Ferguson to their squad in the last transfer window.

Azzurri are also expected to welcome back Dom Bizzarri after he recovered from a hamstring injury.

Adamstown have yet to notch a win this season, leaving them anchored to the bottom of the table on two competition points.

Two draws against Edgeworth and Valentine hinted that Dave Rosewarne’s men might have turned a corner. Rosebud were competitive in their last outing against Weston, only to eventually suffer their 11th defeat of the campaign.

Rosebud were again competitive when they met Charlestown back in round seven, with a 76th minute own goal handing Azzurri a 2-1 win.

Valentine FC v Weston Workers FC
Rockwell Automation Park, Sunday 2pm

Valentine will look to halt a revitalised Weston Workers side when they meet at Rockwell Automation Park on Sunday.

The match was transferred from CB Complex to the Bears’ den on Thursday, with Valentine’s home ground unplayable due to the wet weather during the week.

Valentine have struggled to take the field for most of the season given the weather conditions, as Adam Hughes’ side slipped to eighth after suffering back-to-back losses in their last two outings.

Valentine were beginning to stake their claims for a spot in the finals but with their opponents this weekend Weston returning to form as well as Newcastle Olympic, they now sit seven points adrift of the top five.

Valentine also increased their finals credentials with a good win against Newcastle Olympic midweek, downing Joel Griffiths’ side 2-1 on Tuesday night which has massive ramifications for the sides vying for fourth and fifth place. The win sees Valentine sit within four points of fifth-placed Weston.

Weston have put together three consecutive victories to catapult themselves into finals contention despite a tumultuous period for the club that saw head coach Leo Bertos resign from his position.

Weston are fresh from collecting their biggest scalp of the season against rivals Maitland last weekend and they now set their sights on continuing their good form after drawing level with fourth-placed Lambton Jaffas on 20 competition points.

The Bears have well and truly broken the shackles after their run of five matches without a victory, scoring a combined 11 goals in their last three wins.

Interim Weston coach Anthony Richards said his side would look to continue their good form against Valentine.

“Valentine is a very well organised side,” Richards said.

“They have some terrific experienced players there… it’s probably going to be our toughest match of the year.

“Those guys are well experienced and have good heads on them. Valentine is doing well and sitting mid table. We will do well to win.”

The matches between Broadmeadow Magic and Maitland FC, Newcastle Olympic and Lambton Jaffas and Lake Macquarie City against Cooks Hill United have been postponed due to wet weather.

Edgeworth FC have the bye

Related Topics:
NPL Men's NNSW Round 18 preview

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