NPL Men’s NNSW Round Seven Preview: Adamstown look for ANZAC Day upset against Azzurri

April 21st, 2022

 James Paras

 Sproule Sports Focus

Match of the Round
Adamstown Rosebud v Charlestown Azzurri
Adamstown Oval, Monday 2pm

Adamstown Rosebud and Charlestown Azzurri will compete for the inaugural ANZAC Cup when they meet in the match of the round on Monday.

Adamstown coach Dave Rosewarne said commemorating ANZAC Day had always been important to the club and made special mention of vice-president Craig Eardley for organising the event.

“We have done the service for four or five years now and we request [NNSWF] to have a game on ANZAC Day,” Rosewarne said.

“One of our former board members was quite involved with the cadets and the club as a whole thinks it’s a great idea. Craig Eardley has taken it up a notch now, to get the ANZAC Day Cup idea running with the help of BarTV and it’s something we have been championing.

“It’s to honour what the day represents and we will try to put on a performance that pays homage to the ANZACs”.

The game will feature sides at opposite ends of the table. Charlestown Azzurri come into the fixture as one of the more impressive sides during the opening rounds, with Graham Law’s team sitting undefeated at the top of the table.

Azzurri have already knocked over heavyweights Lambton Jaffas and Edgeworth in the opening rounds and will look to make it four straight victories against Rosebud on Monday.

Adamstown on the other hand have had a horror start to the season with Rosebud sitting at the bottom of the table after four straight losses.

Rosebud and Cooks Hill United are the only winless sides in the competition so far this season and will be hoping for a significant change in fortune in the ANZAC Day clash after suffering embarrassing 6-0 defeats back-to-back against Maitland and Broadmeadow last week.

Rosewarne said his side were under no illusions of the challenge the table leaders would pose but with some returning faces Adamstown could be up to the task.

“Charlestown is in good form. They are playing some good and aggressive football,” Rosewarne said.

“We are going to have to try and shut them down so we will have to try and not leave too many spaces around the place and let their guys run in behind.

“I feel our second half performance against Magic was our worst but in the Maitland match I felt we made plenty of opportunities but just couldn’t capitalise.

“Dane Lawthur should be back and Kyle Munns will probably start the match and that should add some stability around areas on the pitch.”

Charlestown Azzurri coach Law said his side took no match lightly no matter where their opponents were on the table and would rest some players during their mid-week Australia Cup match to make sure they were ready for the clash against Rosebud.

“We have an Australia Cup game through the week [on Wednesday] but I will be resting some players for it,” Law said.

“There are some areas we can still improve on but overall I am pretty happy with how we are going. I can see that our side is gelling and this group of players has a real feeling about it.

“I truly believe if you prepare incorrectly and as a coach give off the wrong signals you can set yourself up to fail. We do our video analysis on every team we are about to play and this game will not be any different.”

Forming a part of a pre-game ANZAC Day remembrance service at Adamstown Oval, the Adamstown 211 Army Cadets Unit will conduct a catafalque party and flag party in the lead up to the match, with the Last Post and Rouse being played and followed by a minute of silence to remember the Diggers.

The service will begin at 1.40pm before first grade kicks off at 2pm.

Maitland FC v Broadmeadow Magic
Cooks Square Park, Saturday 3pm

In ominous signs for the rest of the competition Maitland FC coach Michael Bolch says the best is yet to come from his side as they prepare to welcome a red hot Broadmeadow Magic to Cooks Square Park on Saturday.

The Magpies are undefeated in their opening four matches of the season and sit second on the table, only behind leaders Charlestown Azzurri on goal difference heading into this weekend’s clash.

Maitland have been impressive in the early exchanges of the season but now face a rejuvenated Broadmeadow outfit with both sides coming into the fixture on a three-match win streak.

The Magpies strike power across the park is well documented with the likes of Braedyn Crowley and James Thompson already making their mark on this year’s competition with their goal scoring but the Magpies backline has arguably been their greatest asset with the side only conceding the solitary goal from their opening four matches.

Broadmeadow is on an upwards trajectory with the Damian Zane-led side steadying the ship after two defeats to start the campaign and have now since dispatched Cooks Hill, Edgeworth and Adamstown Rosebud convincingly to move into third on the table.

It is the dawn of a new era at Broadmeadow Magic and questions over the sides’ ability to replace the class of players like James and Luke Virgili and Mitch Rooke have quickly dissipated with Zane putting faith in the youth to continue their challenge for the premiership.

But Magic will be without goalkeeper Nathanael Cavaliere for the fixture, with young Zak Bowling expected to take his place.

The fixture looks destined to produce goals, with Magic scoring the most in the competition heading into the clash with 15 and Maitland scoring 10 of their own. The two sides were evenly matched in their last meeting, with the side sharing the points in a hard-fought 1-1 draw last year.

But Bolch said it was his side’s defensive resolve that would be the key to the Magpies success and he welcomed the challenge the youthful Magic side would present.

“They are a young and energetic squad. Zaney always has his squads well drilled,” Bolch said.

“Traditionally we always have good clashes with Magic and you know we are always in for a battle, doesn’t matter who is in the side or who is coaching.

“We still have improvement in us. With a couple of new signings it took us a little bit to gel, we have tried a few different formations before we have settled on what is the best for us. I think you will see the best out of us in the next few weeks.

“I rate our back four and our keeper the best combination in the competition. [Our goalkeeper] Paul Bitz has probably been our best signing for the year, just ahead of Will McFarlane and Braedyn Crowley.

“The back two pairing of Zac Thomas and Will McFarlane with Paul Bitz behind them, we are very strong defensively in the middle of the park”.

Lambton Jaffas v Newcastle Olympic FC
Arthur Edden Oval, Saturday 4.30pm

Newcastle Olympic coach Joel Griffiths will have a host of new names available for selection as his side welcome three new signings as they attempt to topple the premiers on Saturday afternoon.

Olympic have only played three games so far this season and went down in their most recent match against Lake Macquarie in a heated affair, handing Olympic consecutive defeats.

The back-to-back losses come after Olympic showed plenty of promise in their opening round derby victory over Broadmeadow Magic but now sit eighth on the table after three fixtures as they prepare for arguably their biggest test so far this season.

In a boost for the club, Olympic announced three new signings through the week with Musa Kamara returning to the club after a season with Weston. Also joining him are Malk Thom [United States] and Joey Langlois [Newcastle Jets Youth]. Olympic will also be expecting to welcome back captain Rhys Cooper for the match.

For the Jaffas it was business as usual in their opening round against Magic as they came away victorious but the premiers were stunned by Charlestown Azzurri in their next fixture before downing the Weston Bears 2-0 last Friday to climb up to fourth on the table.

The Jaffas were victorious in their last meeting against Olympic but will be looking to keep in touch with leaders Maitland and Charlestown who are four points ahead.

Griffiths said along with the new signings his side feels invigorated heading into the fixture after using their time away from the pitch to their advantage.

“It’s been a bit of a blessing in disguise with all the match delays,” Griffiths says.

“The window opened for us to chase players and it will almost be like a new team with some new faces coming in. Rhys Cooper is one of those people, even though he has been at the club a while he hasn’t had any minutes at all [due to injury].

“We are looking stronger in the front third now, more mobility which is what I was looking for. We are a younger team and that will be a challenge when we come up against sides like the Jaffas.

“Everyone is going to have to be on it. I have no questions about whether we will be up for it. (Lambton] have a lot of good players and they are starting to get momentum so it’s not going to be an easy task but we will give it everything we can.”

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

Weston Workers assistant coach Anthony Richards has confirmed international signing Michael McGlinchey has arrived in Australia and will be available for selection against Valentine FC on Sunday.

McGlinchey arrives at Weston with a wealth of experience from his time in the A-League and also over 50 caps for New Zealand. The Kiwi midfielder is a timely acquisition for the side and he is also joined by former Mariner and Jet Matt Buettner, who also was announced as a new signing by the Bears this week.

Weston were big winners in their season opener against Cooks Hill but will come to this weekend’s fixture looking to turn around a two-game slide after losses to Maitland and Lambton but will have to do it against an undefeated Valentine side.

Valentine have been the surprise packet of the competition despite only playing two matches and have improved to fourth on the table after starting with back-to-back wins.

Valentine were victorious against Lake Macquarie last weekend in what was their first match in more than three weeks but player-coach Adam Hughes said it would take a while for his side to reach their peak fitness due to their sporadic fixtures so far this season.

“It was good to get our match against Lake Macquarie in, just our second game of the season,” Hughes said.

“It’s probably been the most complicated pre-season, season-opening fixtures I have ever been involved with but it is what it is. We have had to think outside the box [to keep fit]. We have done lake runs and used the five-a-side courts at Speers Point.

“It’s all about recovery after last weekend’s match, it was a heavy pitch. [Weston] are a good team, they play a good style of football and they are a good team.”

Hughes also highlighted Weston’s signing of McGlinchey and said he was a great addition to the competition.

“[Michael McGlinchey] coming into the league is very good. Obviously he has a good connection with [Weston head coach Leo Bertos] and he will add a different level to their team and the league itself,” Hughes said.

Richards echoed the excitement about McGlinchey’s arrival and said it would be an opportunity for his side to learn from his experience and hopefully start collecting points again this weekend.

“We know about Valentine. They have experience in that team,” Richards said.

“It’s no surprise to us that they are two from two and their experienced boys are pulling the strings really well.

“We need to take our opportunities against Valentine this weekend. In the last couple of games, we have had chances where we haven’t been good enough to finish off and we need to start taking them. [We also need to] concentrate better at the back for the full 90 minutes.

“Michael McGlinchey arriving at the club brings experience. He has played A-League and for his country and he brings a winning attitude. He is the perfect guy we need for our team, someone in the middle of the park that can calm the young players down when they need it.”

Cooks Hill United vs Lake Macquarie City
Fearnley Dawes Athletics Field, Sunday 4.30pm

Cooks Hill United coach Dave Tanchevski says a host of returning players would put them in a good position to grab their first win of the season when they meet Lake Macquarie this weekend.

It has been a baptism by fire for Cooks Hill since their inclusion in the NPL Men’s NNSW competition, facing heavyweights Maitland and Broadmeadow while also losing heavily to Weston in their opening three matches.

Despite a gutsy opening round draw against the Magpies, Cooks Hill join Adamstown Rosebud as the only winless side in the competition but have conceded half of the 16 goals last-placed Rosebud have.

Lake Macquarie have had a mixed bag of results to start their season, with the Keelan Hamilton-coached side registering one win, one draw and most recently a 3-1 loss to Valentine on Easter Monday.

Lake Macquarie will be confident heading into the fixture with the side already producing some great moments in the early rounds. The Roosters produced a late equaliser against Charlestown Azzurri in the opening round and also a late winner against Newcastle Olympic in round five to help them to sixth on the table.

Tanchevski said after having a bye and then heading into the Easter long weekend he and his side have used the time wisely and hope to welcome back some much-welcomed additions to the side to take on Lakes.

“It’s been good to work on things in training,” Tanchevski said.

“Everyone has missed a lot of game time. We are all in the same boat. There are probably a lot of rusty people out there at the moment.

“We have got to be more dangerous in our front third. We started with a few hard games to begin our NPL career but we put a couple of good showings in those games [against Magic and Maitland].

“We struggled in the back half of the Magic game, so we have worked on our fitness and we know we can compete on the day but we need to compete for 90 minutes so hopefully [fitness training] will help.

“Riley McNaughton is expected to be back this weekend. He played the first game but has been out since then. Bailey Newton is a young boy that played in the Australia Cup for us last week and scored three goals, so we are trying to push him through reserve grade to have an opportunity with first grade.

“I’m also expecting Cody Carroll and Kev Davison to be available for this weekend, so we have a few boys that haven’t played yet but will strengthen our squad.”

Edgeworth FC have the bye

Related Topics:
NPL Men's NNSW Round Seven Preview

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